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This gorgeous picture book by Newbery Honor winner Patricia C. McKissack and two-time Caldecott Medal-winning husband-and-wife team Leo and Diane Dillon is sure to become a treasured keepsake for African American families. Set in West Africa, this a lyrical story-in-verse is about a young black boy who is kidnapped and sold into slavery, and his father who is left behind to mourn the loss of his son. Here's a beautiful, powerful, truly...
This gorgeous picture book by Newbery Honor winner Patricia C. McKissack and two-time Caldecott Medal-winning husband-and-wife team Leo and Diane Dillon is sure to become a treasured keepsake for African American families. Set in West Africa, this a lyrical story-in-verse is about a young black boy who is kidnapped and sold into slavery, and his father who is left behind to mourn the loss of his son. Here's a beautiful, powerful, truly unforgettable story about family, memory, and freedom.
"Forceful and iconic," raves Publishers Weekly in a starred review.
From the Hardcover edition.
A 2012 Coretta Scott King Author Honor Book
Winner of the 2012 PEN/Steven Kroll Award
A searing cycle of poems describes a father's grief after his son is taken from their home in Mali and enslaved in America.
McKissack's tale of a father's grief, old ways carried to the new world and a circle broken and reforged to span the ocean itself echoes ancient storytelling traditions. An initial poem, "The Griot's Prelude," describes "men with the blue of the sky in their eyes" coming deep into the forests to take slaves. A Mende blacksmith in 18th-century, Mali raises his child himself when the infant's mother dies in childbirth. Dinga enlists the Mother Elements of Earth, Fire, Water and Wind as the elders who help to raise Musafa. Sounds of drums and song for each element (Fire is"Kiki Karum Kiki Karum Kiki Karum," while Water is "Shum Da Da We Da Shum Da Da We Da," for instance) emphasize the storyteller's voice in the narrative, inviting listeners to participate and engage. Full-page and border paintings in acrylic and watercolor use strong black lines, almost like woodcut engravings, in deep browns, earth colors and subtle jewel tones against creamy backgrounds. The boy learns to make beautiful objects of metal but is taken by slave traders, and it is years before Dinga learns from the Wind that his son, now Moses, has become a gifted apprentice blacksmith in Charleston, S.C., soon to be freed by the smithy owner.
A totally absorbing poetic celebration of loss and redemption. (author's note)(Picture book/poetry. 7-12)
Starred Review, Publishers Weekly, August 8, 2011:
"Forceful and iconic, the Dillons’ (The Secret River) woodcut-style paintings use gentle colors and strong lines to telegraph scary sequences, but do not dwell on them...The willingness to turn the dark history of the past into literature takes not just talent but courage. McKissack has both."
Starred Review, School Library Journal, August 2011:
"The pictures demonstrate the miracle of superb book illustration: how something that lies flat on the page can convey such depth, texture, and feeling. This sad but powerful tale will not be easily accessible to many kids, but here’s hoping that there are a lot of patient and appreciative adults (teachers, parents, librarians) to introduce them to it."
Starred Review, Booklist, September 1, 2011:
"The dramatic, thickly outlined acrylic-andwatercolor illustrations extend the story’s magical realism and intensify the anguish and grief in the words. Both words and images come together in a conclusion that brings hope, with the promise of freedom"
Starred Review, Kirkus Reviews, September 1, 2011:
"Sounds of drums and song for each element (Fire is “Kiki Karum Kiki Karum Kiki Karum,” while Water is “Shum Da Da We Da Shum Da Da We Da,” for instance) emphasize the storyteller’s voice in the narrative, inviting listeners to participate and engage. Full-page and border paintings in acrylic and watercolor use strong black lines, almost like woodcut engravings, in deep browns, earth colors and subtle jewel tones against creamy backgrounds...A totally absorbing poetic celebration of loss and redemption."
Starred Review, The Bulletin of the Center for Children's Books, November 1, 2011:
“McKissak gives her legend-making genuine momentum as well as scope….Stories of the middle passage rarely focus on the pain of those left behind, and this is a creative yet poignant treatment of that grief.”
Posted October 2, 2011
NEVER FORGOTTEN By Patricia C. McKissack Artwork by Leo and Diane Dillon This is the most difficult book review, to date, that I have ever written. Nothing I write can do justice to this superb work of art. Never Forgotten is indeed a work of art. It is moving and touches the soul. Never Forgotten is a story of love, a story of memory, and a story of family. The lyrical meter and the artwork add to the feel, the moment of the story. Never Forgotten is a story of slavery, but it is told from the perspective of those left behind. This is Dinga's story, and even more than that a story of every family that ever had someone stolen from them for the purpose of slavery. Dinga is raising his son, Mufasa, alone after the death of his wife. But Dinga is raising his son with the help of the four Mother Elements - Earth, Fire, Water, and Wind. As the years passed there have been drums of warning - drums that spoke of an outside threat. But the threat was so far away that Dinga paid them little heed. When Mufasa was old enough Dinga began teaching him the skill of his family - blacksmithing. But one day as Mufasa gathered the brush for the fire he did not return. Dinga and the village searched for Mufasa, but could find no trace of the boy. Dinga asked the Mother Elements for their help but they were unable to stop the slavers and save Mufasa and stolen children of Africa. For several years Dinga lived in sorrow with no hope for his stolen son. But one day Wind returned and told Dinga a tale. A tale that made his heart celebrate - though his son was taken and lived across the ocean in a faraway land Mufasa had never forgotten. Mufasa used the skills his father had taught him and told of the father that had taught him well. This touching story of loss reminds us that ".the family endures forever," and that "loved ones are never forgotten when we continue to tell their stories." This title is a must for any African-American collection and would be perfect as the focal point of any Black History month display. It is appropriate for all age groups. This review is from an Advanced Digital Reader Copy provided by the Publisher for review purposes.Was this review helpful? Yes NoThank you for your feedback. Report this reviewThank you, this review has been flagged.