Bound To Stay Bound

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 African Town
 Author: Latham, Irene

 Publisher:  Putnam (2023)

 Classification: Fiction
 Physical Description: 438 p., ill., maps, 21 cm

 BTSB No: 544442 ISBN: 9780593322888
 Ages: 14-18 Grades: 9-12

 Novels in verse
 Black people -- Fiction
 Slave trade -- Fiction
 Africa -- Fiction

Price: $10.65

Chronicles the story of the last Africans brought illegally to the United States on the Clotilda in 1860.

 Added Entry - Personal Name: Waters, Charles

   Kirkus Reviews (11/15/21)
   Booklist (+) (12/15/21)
 The Bulletin of the Center for Children's Books (00/12/21)

Full Text Reviews:

Booklist - 12/15/2021 *Starred Review* Inspired by the true story of the last American slave ship, African Town is an epic novel in verse told from multiple first-person points of view, each one written in a different verse form. The story begins in 1860 when Timothy Meaher, a wealthy Alabama riverboat captain, makes a $1,000 wager that he can illegally smuggle a ship’s worth of enslaved workers back to Mobile without the authorities’ knowledge. The action then moves to the West African kingdom of Dahomey, where readers meet 19-year-old Kossola, the story’s protagonist, who will become one of 110 Africans kidnapped and sold to Meaher’s representative. After a hideously arduous 40-day voyage aboard the ship Clotilda, the Africans arrive clandestinely in Alabama, where they are sold into slavery. The novel then follows the intertwined lives of Kossola and some half-dozen others, all of whom were “passengers” on the Clotilda. Readers see them gain their freedom and obsessively save their money until they can buy multiple plots of land adjacent to one another, thereby founding African Town in the early 1870s. This is by no means the end of the story, which goes on to chart the fully realized lives of its characters until 1901. African Town is a compelling novel that doubles as an important historic document, invaluable for both classroom use and independent reading. - Copyright 2021 Booklist.

School Library Journal - 02/04/2022 Gr 7 Up—Human identity is built on the actions of those who came before, their histories creating a robust foundation upon which future generations can grow. In 1860, after the United States outlawed the importation of enslaved people, the Clotilda set sail across the Atlantic. It was on an illegal mission to collect one last shipment of enslaved people from Africa, and money and influence in the right places permitted the exchange to occur. Each day tested the resolve of those torn from their homeland: they were determined to survive in America while protecting the memories they held dear. This gripping novel recounts the story of the Clotilda's voyage across the vast Atlantic. Told from the perspectives of myriad characters directly and indirectly involved in this event, the story reads much like Lincoln in the Bardo by George Saunders, where each unique voice contributes to the greater whole. Carefully executed passages appear in various forms of free verse and poetry, and each one is specific to the particular character represented. This choice makes the individual contributors not only come alive but also stand out from one another as the narrative progresses. Extensively researched and purposefully designed, this book brings together details of events from 1859 to 1901 and culminates in several pages of back matter that reinforce the entire work. VERDICT This honest, heartrending, and inspiring story is an important and necessary contribution to historical fiction collections for young adult readers.—Mary Lanni - Copyright 2022 Publishers Weekly, Library Journal and/or School Library Journal used with permission.

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