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’s 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.