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TELL ALL THE CHILDREN OUR STORY by Tonya Bolden Kirkus Star

TELL ALL THE CHILDREN OUR STORY

Memories and Mementos of Being Young and Black in America

By Tonya Bolden

Age Range: 8 & up

Pub Date: Feb. 1st, 2001
ISBN: 0-8109-4496-0
Publisher: Abrams

Bolden (Rock of Ages, 2001, etc.) presents an overview about what life has been like through the years for African-American children in the US. Covering the entire span of time from the Jamestown colony to the end of the 20th century, this is a stirring narrative that broadly summarizes conditions over these hundreds of years while dipping into details to engage and connect readers. The design, which uses a specific type for quoting actual individuals, makes the juxtaposition of such things as photographs, paintings, and notices much clearer. The heart is in these quotes from primary sources. As “Papa Dallas” tells his daughter how he lost his sight as a child for daring to learn his alphabet, he says, “Don’t you cry for me now, daughter. . . . Promise me that you gonna pick up every book you can and you gonna read it from cover to cover. . . . And one more thing, I want you to promise me that you gonna tell all the children my story.” The cumulative effect of hearing such heartfelt words from those who are little known along with others such as Paul Robeson, Gordon Park, and Dorothy West is a powerful one. With notes, bibliography, and an excellent suggested reading list, this will serve both browsers and researchers. Valuable and impressive. (Nonfiction. 8+)