Circle Unbroken (Booklist Editor's Choice. Books for Youth (Awards))

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9780374312893: Circle Unbroken (Booklist Editor's Choice. Books for Youth (Awards))
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Keeping the African heritage alive

As she teaches her granddaughter to sew a traditional sweetgrass basket, a grandmother weaves a story, going back generations to her old-timey grandfather's village in faraway Africa. There, as a boy, he learned to make baskets so tightly woven they could hold the rain. Even after being stolen away to a slave ship bound for America, he remembers what he learned and passes these memories on to his children - as they do theirs, so that

. . . when your fingers talk just right
that circle will go out and out again -
past slavery and freedom, old ways and new,
and your basket will hold the past . . .

This powerful picture book, with its rhythmic text and evocative paintings, spirals through time, becoming a triumphant song - a rich story of a craft, a culture, and a people.

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About the Author:

Margot Theis Raven's picture books include Angels in the Dust, which was an IRA Teachers' Choice. She lives in Charleston, South Carolina.

E. B. Lewis's many picture books include Talkin' About Bessie by Nikki Grimes, which received the Coretta Scott King Award. He lives in Folsom, New Jersey.

From School Library Journal:

Kindergarten-Grade 5-A book about the origins of the intricate technique and art of basket making as preserved by the Africans who were brought to America as slaves and their descendants. A grandmother guides her granddaughter's hands as she teaches her the art of basket sewing. When the child asks her how she came to make baskets, the woman's answer harkens back to a time when one of their ancestors, the child's "old-timey grandfather," is being initiated into manhood in a village in Africa. Part of the rite involves being able to make a grass basket woven or coiled so tightly that it can hold water. Soon after this event, the young man is captured, transported to America, and sold as a slave at an auction in Charleston, SC. During the day he works the fields, but by night he makes baskets, and this skill is passed down from one generation to the next. Raven's text masterfully frames several hundred years of African-American history within the picture-book format. Lewis's double-page, watercolor images are poignant and perfectly matched to the text and mood. A section at the end of the book offers information about the "coil" or "Gullah" baskets, as they are known today, as well as the regions of Africa where this art form originated. This title works as both a story and informational book; consider it as a first purchase.-Mary N. Oluonye, Shaker Heights Public Library, OH
Copyright © Reed Business Information, a division of Reed Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved.

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Other Popular Editions of the Same Title

9780312376031: Circle Unbroken

Featured Edition

ISBN 10:  0312376030 ISBN 13:  9780312376031
Publisher: Square Fish, 2007
Softcover

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