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A single bowl of soup changes a family forever.
Growing up in a small Jamaican town where his father works the docks and his mother does laundry, "Tall T" both fears and loves his father, Brother John, who leaves his six children in dire poverty by losing his wages each week to bone dice and rum. As if that were not bad enough, Brother John is bewitched by the obeah woman next door and leaves his family for her. Forced to leave school because he has no uniform, Tall T starts reading, guided by the local librarian, but he still feels helpless until he proves to himself that he is a man by climbing a 60-foot cliff called the Jacob Ladder.
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I first heard the story of The Jacob Ladder as it was told in the streets of Oracabessa where the story actually happened. The storyteller was Uton Hinds, a cab-driver, oil painter and family man. I loved the story so much that I asked Uton "Tall T" Hinds if I could record it and help him to make it into a book. He agreed. Four years later the book was published by Orchard Books, a division of Scholastic. It became a classroom text in many schools in America and the Caribbean. Life in Jamaica is rough economically. But, culturally, there's a lot of love in those St Ann hills where this story unfolds. Uton's message about forgiveness and love, about how his father -- no matter how badly he treated everyone -- was still his father and respect was due for the one "who gave me life" is worth remembering. The Christian Science Monitor commented on how carefully written this book was, and how "... native words enhance the educational value and multicultural appeal of this inspiring autobiographical story." (Courtney Williamson, The Christian Science Monitor, 2001.) Uton has traveled about the U.S. selling his book door-to-door, he is its best salesman. I heard not too long ago that some students in Miami were sad when they saw Uton's picture. "He's older than we thought." Well, that happens. The story took place in the Fifties and Sixties and Jamaica was a different time and place then and Uton was a little boy. But the story holds. It is one of my favorite books on the subject of "love your family whoever they might be" -- and I thank Uton for being tough enough to tell it the way it really happened.From the Inside Flap:
This exciting story was a New York Public Library Best Book and also a Social Studies Council citation winner. It became a text book in many schools across America but especially in Miami and areas where there were large Jamaican populations. Over the years, The Jacob Ladder has been praised by teachers because it not only shares a Jamaican insight on Jacob in the Bible, but it also shows how a family can pull together in a time of great need. In addition, it shows how a 12-year-old boy supported his whole family when his father abandoned them. Ultimately, the story is about redemption and love and the power of forgiveness.
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Book Description Scholastic Paperbacks. Condition: Good. . Seller Inventory # SB06C-00522
Book Description Scholastic, Incorporated. Paperback. Condition: Good. Book has some visible wear on the binding, cover, pages. Seller Inventory # G043947163XI3N00
Book Description Condition: Good. [ No Hassle 30 Day Returns ][ Ships Daily ] [ Underlining/Highlighting: NONE ] [ Writing: NONE ] [ Edition: Reprint ] Publisher: Scholastic Paperbacks Pub Date: 4/1/2003 Binding: Paperback Pages: 128 Reprint edition. Seller Inventory # 3560970
Book Description Scholastic Paperbacks, 2003. Paperback. Condition: Used: Good. Seller Inventory # SONG043947163X