fiction favorites…Africa is My Home

africa is my home cover imageAfrica is My Home: A Child of the Amistad, by Monica Edinger, illustrated by Robert Byrd
published in 2013 by Candlewick Press

I was born in Mendeland, West Africa, one of the greenest places on earth.

Every day my sisters and I walked along paths lined with green bamboo, past green rice fields, to bathe in a river full of green and pink water lilies. We ate tiny green bananas, juicy green pineapple, and the tart green mangoes my oldest brother brought us after climbing our shady mango tree…

When I was growing up, all this green was nothing special. It was just where I lived. My home.
Until I was nine years old.

At age nine, our narrator, Sarah Margru Kinson, was pawned off by her africa is my home illustration robert byrd from blaine dot orgfather in exchange for rice, then sold by that man to slave traders, forced to march for days to the coast, packed into the dark hold of a slave ship, and transported for seven torturous weeks to Cuba.  There she was sold again, and loaded onto what would become perhaps the most famous of slave ships — the Amistad.

Witness the terrors of these journeys through Sarah’s eyes, the africa is my home illustration2 robert byrd from blaine dot orgincomprehensible new world she arrived in, the revolt of the Africans on board the Amistad, her extraordinary years in Connecticut, and her eventual trip back to Freetown and the home she had dreamed of throughout her difficult, frightening, startling travels in this short, fictionalized account.

It’s a poignant, harrowing story. Sarah’s voice keeps it human and so fresh as we experience these trials and delights, cruelties and kindnesses, along with her.

Robert Byrd’s fabulous ink and watercolor illustrations bring lush, rich colors to the pages as they display the period architecture and fashions and ship riggings, as well as bring a vast array of individuals to life.  An

Cinque, who led the Amistad rebellion.

Cinque, who led the Amistad rebellion.

Author’s Note tells about Monica Edinger’s research as she uncovered Sarah’s story.

At only 55 heavily-illustrated pages, this is excellent historical fiction for ages 8 and up and a super choice for Black History month.