Author: Joyce Hansen
Call Number: PZ7.H19825 Cap 1995
Kofi’s safe world is suddenly shattered. Ghostly white men, who have arrived from the coast, are stealing his people to sell into slavery. And Africans who speak and dress like the white man are helping them.
Oppong, the family’s beloved slave, has always been trustworthy, but today he seems nervous and preoccupied. Why does he not tell Father when he thinks he senses danger? And why is he not dressed in his robe for today’s procession to Kumasi? Kofi’s worst suspicions unfurl before his eyes — and it is this ironic twist of fate that changes the lives of Kofi’s family irrevocably and leads Kofi, in chains, to a cold, somber New England farm owned by Puritans. How the boy eventually comes to find Paul Cuffe, and African American ship builder with a dream of taking Africans back to their homeland, reveals and unusual chapter in American history.
In a riveting novel laced with historic fact, award-winning author Joyce Hansen perceptively contrasts two cultures, while showing a unique picture of slavery in New England shortly after the American Revolution.
I write about what I know and what moves me deeply. My characters are greatly influenced by my childhood and my students. My love of books and writing came from my mother, who wanted to be a journalist. She grew up in a large family during the Depression, and though she was intelligent and literate, she couldn’t finish high school because she had to work.
From my father, I learned how to tell stories. He entertained my brothers and me with stories about his boyhood in the West Indies and his experiences as a young man in the Harlem of the 1920s and ‘30s. He also helped me to see the beauty and poetry in the everyday scenes and “just plain folks” he captured in his photographs.
I have also been inspired by my students’ creativity — the way they twist, bend, enliven, deconstruct, and sometimes even destroy language; their loves, hates, fears, feelings, and needs filter into my writing. I write for all children who need and can relate to things I write about — the importance of family, maintaining a sense of hope, and responsibility for oneself and other living things.
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