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#1 New York Times Bestselling and award-winning author of The Undefeated, Kwame Alexander, pens a powerful picture book that tells the story of American slavery through the voice of a teacher struggling to help her students understand its harrowing history.

From the fireside tales in an African village, through the unspeakable passage across the Atlantic, to the backbreaking work in the fields of the South, this is a story of a people's struggle and strength, horror and hope. This is the story of American slavery, a story that needs to be told and understood by all of us. A testament to the resilience of the African American community, this book honors what has been and envisions what is to be.

With stunning mixed-media illustrations by newcomer Dare Coulter, this is a potent book for those who want to speak the truth. Perfect for family sharing, the classroom, and homeschooling.

From School Library Journal

PreS-Gr 3-In lyrical verse, Alexander tells the powerful story of American slavery and African resilience through the eyes of a teacher navigating students through this horrific period in American history. The shifting narrative moves between the teacher's account and the students' reactions, with Alexander magnifying the unfolding terror of a people stolen from home and thrust into slavery: "About sly men/ from cold places/ scheming/ and laughing/ on tall ships…/ while people/ shackled below,/ crammed in/ small, hot spaces,/ cry and/ sometimes die." Coulter's stunning mixed- media artwork illustrates the unflinching brutality of slavery and the beauty of a resilient people who "hold history in one hand and clench hope in the other." Classroom scenes are sketched in black against a warm yellow background, with expressive students and teacher working through the difficult lesson. Author and illustrator notes provide further context. VERDICT An excellent and essential first purchase for all collections; whether for curriculum-building or classroom-sharing, this book is unforgettable.-Rosemary Kiladitisα(c) Copyright 2011. Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.


Praise for An American Story

An Indie Next List Pick

*"Beautifully crafted and brutally honest, this offers a thoughtful introduction to a necessary topic."

―Booklist, starred review

*"With powerful art from a bold new talent, this is a probing and sensitive take on a devastating chapter of U.S. history."―Kirkus, starred review

*"Alexander and Coulter have created a powerful counternarrative in their efforts to answer the question, “How do you tell a story about slavery?”―Horn Book, starred review

*"A layered, compassionate telling that considers how to relay difficult truths, and as the art converges into a visual of past and present together, stirring concluding lines suggest a route forward."―Publisher's Weekly, starred review

An American Story

    Urban Reads Bookstore-Baltimore
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