Author: Grant, Shauntay
When a young girl visits the site of Africville, in Halifax, Nova Scotia, the stories she's heard from her family come to mind. She imagines what the community was once like--the brightly painted houses nestled into the hillside, the field where boys played football, the pond where all the kids went rafting, the bountiful fishing, and the huge bonfires.
Kirkus Reviews (07/15/18)
School Library Journal (00/09/18)
Full Text Reviews:
Booklist - 07/01/2018 A young girl reminisces about a place of dreams and hope: Africville. She takes the reader home with her, “where waves come to rest / and hug the harbor stones,” where the scent of freshly baked fruit pies awaits, where children play in fields, go rafting on the pond, and later feast on freshly caught codfish. Through the poem, readers visit this sparkling seaside community that sustains itself through the bounty of nature and the legacy of history. This last element might be lost on younger readers, for whom a fuller context will need to be provided. Grant, Poet Laureate of Halifax, and acclaimed artist Campbell recreate the once-thriving black community of Africville, Nova Scotia. The poem itself will intrigue readers, and fortunately, there are resources provided for those who wish to learn more. Grant’s evocative descriptions are perfectly matched in tone and timbre with Campbell’s vibrant oil-and-pastel renderings of the town and its residents. This can be paired with Richard Blanco’s One Today? (2015) as a mentor text for narrative poetry writing. - Copyright 2018 Booklist.
School Library Journal - 09/01/2018 K-Gr 2—This story celebrates the beauty and joy of the community seen through a child's eyes. Africville was a Black community in Halifax, Nova Scotia, that was settled during the American Revolutionary War, and provided a haven for those fleeing slavery during the War of 1812. Despite its rich history and equal contributions to taxes, the residents of Africville were denied equal services and the community was treated as a literal dumping ground, culminating in forcible relocation and its razing in the 1960s. The spirit of the community could not be broken; there is an annual reunion festival, and the City of Halifax has apologized and offered compensation to former residents. The narrator delights in the festivities, from the hills ripe with blueberries to rafting on the pond. There is both pride and longing expressed in the lyrical text, and the vibrant colors and friendly compositions of the oil and pastel illustrations immerse readers in this community. VERDICT This poetic ode to a place lost in time is an excellent choice for general reading and classroom sharing, and a must-purchase regionally.—Anna Haase Krueger, Ramsey County Library, MN - Copyright 2018 Publishers Weekly, Library Journal and/or School Library Journal used with permission.