Celebrating a special event for his people, Kofi, the prince of a West African village, is horrified when he is betrayed, kidnapped, and sold into slavery in Massachusetts, in a story based on an actual slave narrative. Reprint. PW. K. H.
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Grade 5-8-This novel, inspired by a journal written in the late 1700s, is about the capture of Kofi, a 12-year-old son of an Ashanti chief. The boy is taken and subsequently sold after his father is betrayed and murdered by a trusted family slave. He makes two friends on the trip across the ocean; one is a white indentured servant, the other is another black slave. Once they reach America, they are all sold to a Puritan farmer in Massachusetts. (He is never called a Puritan, however, and children may have difficulty figuring out why the characters go to a long, low building once a week, as it is never referred to as a religious meeting house). Eventually, the boys run away. They are chased onto a ship and discovered by its captain, who agrees to help them. Readers might hope for a description of Kofi's return to Africa, as it is clear from the prologue that he does return, but it is not mentioned again until the epilogue. His life in Africa is presented as both orderly and good; the discussion of a black man's involvement in the selling of others of his race is handled well; and the topic of slavery in New England is one not often discussed. Unfortunately, the sense of passage of time is unbalanced as winter lasts three chapters and spring and summer last two paragraphs, and the story seems to take a long time getting started. Nevertheless, this book may be worth purchasing in support of units on slavery.
Sandra J. Langlais, Newport Public Library, RI
Copyright 1994 Reed Business Information, Inc.
Loosely basing her story on an early slave narrative, the author of Which Way Freedom? (1986) and other evocations of the African-American experience describes the trials and triumphs of an Ashanti chieftain's son who is sold into slavery, transported to postcolonial Massachusetts (where slavery is outlawed, but frequently tolerated), and finally set free by Paul Cuffe, the black shipbuilder and captain. Though young Kofi is roughly treated, Hansen's book doesn't center on horrifying incidents (unlike Paulsen's Nightjohn or Berry's Ajeemah and His Son, both 1992); she focuses on Kofi's confusion at being surrounded by strange sights and people he cannot understand. If the plot follows an easy course--Kofi quickly learns to read and speak English, wins freedom from his master in court, later meets and marries a girl he knew in Africa, grows up to be a ship's pilot, and sees his homeland again--Kofi's pride and outrage still come through clearly, while the practices of the slave trade, in both Africa and New England, are explored in unusual detail. Readable and perceptive. (Fiction. 10-12) -- Copyright ©1993, Kirkus Associates, LP. All rights reserved.
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Book Description Apple. PAPERBACK. Book Condition: New. 0590416243 20 IN STOCK 1/26/17 WE HAVE NUMEROUS COPIES. PAPERBACK. School stamp inside front cover. Pages have begun to yellow due to aging. Bookseller Inventory # Z0590416243ZN
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