Parents' Choice Foundation: Reviewing Children's Media Since 1978

Parents' Choice Awards : Books : Non-Fiction
No More! Stories and Songs of Slave Resistance

No More! Stories and Songs of Slave Resistance

Spring 2002 Non-Fiction
Ages: 9 - 12 yrs.
Author: Doreen Rappaport
Illustrator: Shane E Evans
Publisher: Candlewick Press
ISBN: 0-7636-0984-6
Hardcover Price: $17.99
Doreen Rappaport pulls together many different stories and songs from African American history that reflect the resistance and escape attempts of many enslaved peoples. Most of the stories are from true accounts; some were developed from historical records. Because these stories come from so many different sources, the work is uneven. However, this is a valuable addition to the growing number of books about slavery for young people. It is important to note that the word "nigger" is used on a couple of occasions; it would be impossible to tell these stories without it. Its use makes this volume more appropriate to upper elementary and middle school students.

Shane Evans' large, expressive illustrations are evocative of the period and the subject matter.

Deborah Taylor ©2002 Parents' Choice

This large-format, handsomely illustrated collection consists of slave narratives, Black spirituals and folktales, and sensitively selected moments in U.S. slave history from colonial times to the close of the Civil War. Because author Rappaport has wisely chosen her sources and excerpts, the reader feels-- rather than is told about-- the condition of slavery. We learn that mutinies aboard slave ships were so frequent that traders carried insurance to cover their losses in case of a slave rebellion. We marvel at the ingenuity of slaves who started schools (though it was illegal for them to be taught to read); at the strength of those who managed to buy their freedom; at the bravery of those who spied for the Union during the Civil War. Not every inclusion is strong, but the whole is somehow greater than the sum of its parts. At their best, artist Shane W. Evans' full-page oil paintings rival the work of Jacob Lawrence in another memorable picture book about slavery: Harriet and the Promised Land.

Selma G. Lanes   ©2002 Parents' Choice

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