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Bath - Dormann Library 1 E W Juvenile Fiction Book
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Corning - Southeast Steuben County Library 1 E WEA Juvenile Fiction Book
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Cuba Circulating Library Association 1 E STORIES (STORIES FOR SHARING) W Juvenile Fiction Book
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Elmira - Steele Memorial Library 1 E W Juvenile Fiction Book
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Horseheads Free Library 1 E W Juvenile Fiction Book
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Van Etten Library 1 E W Juvenile Fiction Book
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Wellsville - David A. Howe Public Library 1 E W Juvenile Fiction Book
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Summary

Summary

Chosen as a New York Times Best Illustrated Book of 2016, this poetic, nonfiction story about a little-known piece of African American history captures a human's capacity to find hope and joy in difficult circumstances and demonstrates how New Orleans' Congo Square was truly freedom's heart.

Mondays, there were hogs to slop,

mules to train, and logs to chop.

Slavery was no ways fair.

Six more days to Congo Square.

As slaves relentlessly toiled in an unjust system in 19th century Louisiana, they all counted down the days until Sunday, when at least for half a day they were briefly able to congregate in Congo Square in New Orleans. Here they were free to set up an open market, sing, dance, and play music. They were free to forget their cares, their struggles, and their oppression. This story chronicles slaves' duties each day, from chopping logs on Mondays to baking bread on Wednesdays to plucking hens on Saturday, and builds to the freedom of Sundays and the special experience of an afternoon spent in Congo Square. This book will have a forward from Freddi Williams Evans (freddievans.com), a historian and Congo Square expert, as well as a glossary of terms with pronunciations and definitions.

AWARDS:

A Kirkus Reviews Best Book of 2016

A School Library Journal Best Book of 2016: Nonfiction

Starred reviews from School Library Journal , Booklist , Kirkus Reviews , and The Horn Book Magazine


Author Notes

Carole Boston Weatherford is an award-winning nonfiction children's book author. Her books have received numerous accolades, including a Caldecott Honor for Moses: When Harriet Tubman Led Her People to Freedom and a Coretta Scott King Award Honor for Becoming Billie Holiday, as well as the NAACP's Image Award. She is currently a professor and Director of Professional Writing at Fayetteville State University in North Carolina. You can find more about Carole at cbweatherford.com.

R. Gregory Christie is a three-time recipient of a Coretta Scott King Award Honor for illustration (Brothers in Hope: The Story of the Lost Boys of Sudan; Only Passing Through: The Story of Sojourner Truth; The Palm of My Heart: Poetry by African American Children), a two-time winner of the New York Times' 1 Best Illustrated Children's Books of the Year (in 2 for Only Passing Through and in 22 for Stars in the Darkness), a honor winner of the Theodor Seuss Geisel Award for illustration (Jazz Baby), and a recipient of the NAACP's Image Award. He operates GAS-ART GIFTS, a children's bookstore with autographed copies in Decatur, Georgia. You can find more about Greg online at gas-art.com.


Reviews 3

Booklist Review

*Starred Review* Coretta Scott King Honorees Weatherford and Christie have created a gorgeously artistic and poetic homage to the birthplace of jazz and a people whose legacy is too often ignored. For one day a week, the slaves of New Orleans were allowed by law to gather on one public space: Congo Square. Through sparse, deliberate language, Weatherford tangibly captures the anticipation of those Sundays, listing the physical and emotional work that slaves endured without respite. They tend to animals and crops, cater to their masters, endure losses and lashings, all the while counting the hours until they can revel in the freedom of Congo Square. Holding on to that joyful experience feels like a form of silent resistance as the slaves bear the harshness of the week. The blunt words are richly supplemented by illustrations reminiscent of Jacob Lawrence's work. Christie elegantly renders people's gestures in chalk, capturing their energy or lack of, depending on the context. Blocks of color stamped with texture bring to life the landscape and movement in a place where they rejoiced as if they had no cares; / half day, half free in Congo Square. Subtle and layered, this is an important story, beautifully told.--Chaudhri, Amina Copyright 2015 Booklist


Publisher's Weekly Review

Located in what is now the Treme neighborhood, Congo Square was the one place where the slaves and free blacks of New Orleans were allowed to gather on Sundays, a legally mandated day of rest. There they could reconnect with the dance and music of their West and Central African heritages and feel, at least for a few hours, that they were in "a world apart," where "freedom's heart" prevailed. Weatherford hits a few flat notes with her rhyming ("Slaves had off one afternoon,/ when the law allowed them to commune"), but she succeeds in evoking a world where prospect of Sunday becomes a way to withstand relentless toil and oppression: "Wednesday, there were beds to make/ silver to shine, and bread to bake./ The dreaded lash, too much to bear./ Four more days to Congo Square." Christie, who worked with Weatherford to illuminate another historic neighborhood in Sugar Hill (2014), takes readers on a visual journey, moving from searing naïf scenes of plantation life to exuberantly expressionistic and abstract images filled with joyous, soaring curvilinear figures. An introduction and afterword provide further historic detail. Ages 4-8. (Jan.) © Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved.


School Library Journal Review

Gr 1-5-This Coretta Scott King and Caldecott Honor Book by Carole Boston Weatherford, with illustrations by R. Gregory Christie, really takes flight in the lively DVD version. Slaves from Africa and the West Indies toiled all week picking cotton, scrubbing clothes, and doing back-breaking labor for their owners with one thought in mind: "Slavery was no ways fair. Six more days to Congo Square." For, only on Sunday afternoons were they allowed to congregate and sell their homemade wares in New Orleans' Congo Square, where they were free to speak or sing in their native languages, dance, clap, and play indigenous instruments. The liberating atmosphere of joyful expression lifted their spirits and gave them hope as a community. Christie's childlike, abstract cut-paper bodies seem to leap off the screen, arms waving and tambourines shaking to the rhythmic drums, and the hypnotic music varies with each scene. As the countdown to Congo Square progresses, one senses the taste of freedom in the vocals and the intermingling of musical styles, which helped create the original American art form of jazz. J.D. Jackson's rich narration in verse weaves history, culture, music, and dance together into a vibrant cloth. The fascinating foreword and author's note provide historical context, and the subtitles make them accessible to students. VERDICT Transcendent and inspiring, the program communicates an important facet of African American culture with panache and is a perfect pairing with the award-winning book. Ideal for school and public library settings.-Lonna Pierce, MacArthur and Thomas Jefferson Elementary School -Libraries, Binghamton, NY © Copyright 2017. Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.


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