Parents' Choice Foundation: Reviewing Children's Media Since 1978

The Old African

The Old African

Fall 2005 Fiction
Ages: 12 & Up
Author: Julius Lester
Illustrator: Jerry Pinkney
ISBN: 0-8037-2564-7
Hardcover Price: $19.99
Julius Lester and Jerry Pinkney have created a stunningly potent tale that cycles through all the great myths. They accomplish this without talking down to readers or insulting them. They never gloss over harsh historical facts. The Old African is the story of a mystic who survives the Middle Passage and becomes the guardian of a group of plantation slaves. He protects the slaves by keeping them from pain and despair through a psychic link that binds the slave communities to one another.

The book is a retelling of the Ybo Landing myth in which a number of slaves walked into the water off St. Simon's Island, Georgia, never to be heard from again. Reminiscent of the works of the magnificent late playwright August Wilson, this is highly recommended for ages 12 and up.

Drego Little   ©2005 Parents' Choice
Drego Little is a graduate student in the Language, Literacy, and Culture program at the University of Washington in Seattle.

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