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My Heart Will Not Sit Down

My Heart Will Not Sit Down

5.0 1
by Mara Rockliff

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When Kedi hears about America's Great Depression from her teacher, her heart will not sit down. Men and women are unable to find work. Children are going hungry. In her teacher's village of New York City, people are starving because they do not have money to buy food. But can one small girl in Africa's Cameroon like Kedi make a difference all the way across the great


When Kedi hears about America's Great Depression from her teacher, her heart will not sit down. Men and women are unable to find work. Children are going hungry. In her teacher's village of New York City, people are starving because they do not have money to buy food. But can one small girl in Africa's Cameroon like Kedi make a difference all the way across the great salt river in America?

Inspired by true events, Mara Rockliff's gorgeous and accessible text matched with Ann Tanksley's vibrant and warm illustrations bring to life the remarkable story of one child's vision, passion, and dedication to make the world a better place.

From the Hardcover edition.

Editorial Reviews

Children's Literature - Miranda McClain
Children have within them the power to move mountains. Not by their actions alone but in the ability they have to inspire those around them. In this book a young girl named Kedi from a small village in Cameroon is saddened when she hears that the children in her teacher's "village" are going hungry. Her teacher is an American missionary from New York City and the story takes place during the Great Depression. Kedi tells her mother "My heart will not sit down" when she thinks of the boys and girls who don't have enough to eat. So she asks everyone in her village to send money across the "Great Salt River" to help. Kedi has no comprehension of how large her teacher's village is or how many hungry children there are, but she doesn't let that stop her. Even though the people of the village are truly even poorer than most of the citizens of New York they all sacrifice what they can to help because of Kedi's example. It is a touching tale and the colorful ethnic illustrations compliment the story nicely. This book is based on a true story and the Author's note at the end gives several more examples of generous hearted children working to make the world a better place. Hopefully young readers will find themselves inspired to do what they can to change the world. Reviewer: Miranda McClain
Publishers Weekly
Inspired by a true incident, Rockliff’s (The Busiest Street in Town) story demonstrates what real generosity looks like. It takes place in a Cameroon village, where an American teacher tells his students that the Great Depression is worsening in his country, “far away across the great salt river.” His news that children were starving deeply affects Kedi, who knows hunger firsthand, and the girl’s “heart stood up for them in sympathy.” When she asks her mother and other villagers for money to send to America, they respond that they have none to spare, yet Kedi’s “heart would not sit down.” The narrative conveys a keen sense of Kedi’s compassion and determination to help, which, as the conclusion proves, is contagious. Rendered in watercolor, pen-and-ink, and oils, Tanksley’s (The Six Fools) pared-down, childlike pictures provide a sketch of Cameroon village life, their electric hues of orange, magenta, and scarlet jumping from the pages. An author’s note, which puts the story in real-life context and spotlights others who, despite their own need, have aided the hungry, offers a useful springboard for discussion. Agent: Andrea Brown Literary Agency. Ages 5–8. (Jan.)
School Library Journal
Gr 2–4—When a girl in Cameroon learns from her American teacher that people are starving in New York City because of the Great Depression, she asks her mother and neighbors for money for people across the "great salt river," but everyone is so poor that no one can help. Nevertheless, the next day, though she hasn't enough to pay the head tax, Kedi's mother gives her a single coin. The child is embarrassed to give so little to her teacher until the villagers arrive with their coins as well—and they collect a total of $3.77. From the brilliant title spread in which water extends across the page separating Cameroon villagers from the Manhattan skyline, the folk-art illustrations, rendered in watercolor, pen and ink, and oils, evoke life and vegetation in Kedi's village in contrast to the city's crowded sidewalks. A depiction of Kedi stirring soup "with fou-fou and a bit of meat and greens" appears opposite an image of New Yorkers on a breadline. An author's note reveals that Kedi's story is based on a true event; describes the market crash of 1929 and its effects; details life in Cameroon; and provides examples of other poor communities that have helped those without food. Sharing this inspiring story, along with Carmen Agra Deedy's 14 Cows for America (Peachtree, 2009), in which the 9/11 attacks "burned a hole" in a Maasai boy's heart, may motivate youngsters to find their own ways to help people in need.—Marianne Saccardi, formerly at Norwalk Community College, CT
Kirkus Reviews
A moment of communal compassion is remembered in this fictionalized retelling of a too-little-known tale. When little Kedi learns from her Cameroon village's teacher that the people of New York are starving thanks to the Great Depression, she can't get the problem out of her head. Determined to help the hungry children overseas, Kedi appeals to all the people of her village, only to be rebuffed. No one has enough money to pay the colonial head tax, let alone spare riches for an unknown poor. Downcast, Kedi returns to school, only to discover that her efforts to open the hearts of her neighbors have worked beyond her wildest hopes. Rockliff's recap of this true 1931 incident taps into the wonder of altruism toward total strangers. An author's note explaining not just the story's background but also similar historical incidents proves to be almost more fascinating than the book itself. All this is accompanied by Tanksley's lush, vibrantly colored paintings, which take seemingly simple images and render them big, beautiful and bold. They make what might otherwise be a rote story lush. The human capacity to reach out to those who suffer is lovingly and inspiringly rendered. (Picture book. 4-8)

Product Details

Random House Children's Books
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Random House
File size:
11 MB
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Age Range:
5 - 8 Years

Meet the Author

MARA ROCKLIFF's recent books include The Busiest Street in Town (an IndieNext Pick); the Milo & Jazz Mysteries (an ALA Best New Books for the Classroom Pick); and Get Real: What Kind of World Are You Buying? She lives in eastern Pennsylvania with her family.

ANN TANKSLEY is a fine artist who graduated from the Carnegie Institute of Technology (now Carnegie Mellon University). She is the illustrator of the picture book The Six Fools by Zora Neale Hurston, and the creator of a series of monoprints based on the writings of Hurston titled, "Images of Zora," which Maya Angelou described as "dazzling." She lives in Great Neck, New York.

From the Hardcover edition.

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My Heart Will Not Sit Down 5 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 1 reviews.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
First what do u look like