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Sunday
Oct202013

AFRICA IS MY HOME: A CHILD OF THE AMISTAD by Monica Edinger, illustrated by Robert Byrd (Candlewick, 2013)

Title: AFRICA IS MY HOME: A CHILD OF THE AMISTAD

Author: Monica Edinger / Illustrator: Robert Byrd

Publisher: Candlewick Press, October 2013

Recommended age range: 10 and up

How I wished a book like AFRICA IS MY HOME: A CHILD OF THE AMISTAD existed back when I was a student. Although I got good marks in history, it was only because I excelled at memorizing. And with a few exceptions, that's all history really was to me back in school: memorizing dates and dry facts. It was only years later that I began re-discovering history, mainly through creative nonfiction and videos/movies that inspired me to find out more about a particular period of history.

Monica Edinger'AFRICA IS MY HOME: A CHILD OF THE AMISTAD is a fascinating and moving account of the Amistad Africans from the viewpoint of the children on the ship. Based on the true story of a young girl who is taken from her home in Africa when she is only 9 years old and sold to slave traders, the first-person narrative is gorgeously illustrated by Robert Byrd and also enhanced with reproductions of archival images and documents. I also found the Author's Note interesting, including Edinger's note about why she decided to switch away from telling the story as straight nonfiction.

Anyway, now I want to find out more about the Amistad and that period of history.

Side note: I loved the typeface in which the bulk of text was set. Combined with the exquisite illustrations and thick off-white paper, it makes for a beautiful and satisfying tactile reading experience. 

Highly recommended.

Related links:

School Library Journal review

Publishers Weekly review

Goodreads entry 

You can find Monica Edinger online: blog - Twitter 

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