Your legacy A bold reclaiming of our enslaved history

Schele Williams

Book - 2021

"Your story begins in Africa. Your African ancestors defied the odds and survived 400 years of slavery in America and passed down an extraordinary legacy to you. Beginning in Africa before 1619, Your Legacy presents an unprecedentedly accessible, empowering, and proud introduction to African American history for children. While your ancestors' freedom was taken from them, their spirit was not; this book celebrates their accomplishments, acknowledges their sacrifices, and defines how th...ey are remembered-and how their stories should be taught"--

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Subjects
Genres
Picture books
Published
New York : Abrams Books for Young Readers 2021.
Language
English
Physical Description
1 volume (unpaged) : illustrations ; 28 cm
Audience
Ages 4 to 8
Bibliography
Includes bibliographical references.
ISBN
9781419748752
1419748750
Main Author
Schele Williams (author)
Other Authors
Tonya Engel (illustrator)
Review by Booklist Reviews

*Starred Review* This is an inspiring exhortation for young African Americans to honor the amazing gifts that come from their ancestors. The book begins with descriptions of the rich cultures that thrived in Africa until 1619, when European slave traders first arrived. The following pages tell how enslaved people were torn from their families and forced into back-breaking labor. Throughout, the text speaks only to the deep, powerful qualities that allowed enslaved Africans to survive: love, as they created new families to protect one another; intellect, as they learned how to communicate through secret messages; strength and determination, as they devised ways to escape. Pages list African American inventors and entrepreneurs, gifted musicians, performers, and athletes who, readers are told, made many sacrifices and walked in grace. Young African American readers are told that they can honor this legacy by holding their head high and changing the world. Bright, brilliant, page-filling illustrations perfectly capture the joyous tone, and an author's note explains how Williams wrote this book with humility and gratitude for the sacrifices made by my enslaved ancestors. Not focused on recrimination or placing blame, this book is a celebration of perseverance and dignity that deserves a wide audience. Grades K-2. Copyright 2021 Booklist Reviews.

Review by PW Annex Reviews

In this heartfelt debut, Williams offers an impassioned account of the enslaved African people whose descendants became today's African Americans. The narrative surveys the abundance of cultures, languages, and kingdoms that comprise Africa at the genesis of the Black chattel slavery in the summer of 1619, as well as the Black social and civic leaders who have shaped African American history and culture. Engel's nature-centered, effervescent mixed media illustrations, rendered in acrylics, oils, printmaking, and collage on paper and wood, depict enslaved African peoples in vivid detail, including varied skin tones; elaborate clothing designs; and intricately plaited hairstyles. Weaving a connection between young Black readers and the historic figures and events that preceded them, the author-illustrator team highlights traits that they posit allowed Black people to survive historic oppression, among them strength, love, ingenuity, and grace. Engel further includes numbered spreads depicting notable Black inventors, such as Madam CJ Walker and George Washington Carver. A strikingly worthy introduction of 400 years of Black history to young readers, including the roots of American slavery, effectively conveying that slavery is far from the extent of Black history and influence. Ages 4–8. Author's agency: Creative Artists Agency. Illustrator's agency: Morgan Gaynin. (Sept.) Copyright 2021 Publishers Weekly Annex.

Review by School Library Journal Reviews

K-Gr 2—A celebration of Black excellence that highlights numerous notable figures throughout history and their accomplishments. Black history begins on the continent of Africa where their language and culture flourished. Williams covers, in picture book form, the arrival in 1619 of European slave traders who took Africans away from their homeland and stripped them of their families, their names—even their language. Thankfully, they didn't let not knowing the language of others who were enslaved deter them, and they came up with a brand-new language called Pidgin. The enslaved ancestors retained their music as a connection to Africa, an art form that would one day play an important role in their escape to freedom. People such as Robert Smalls and Harriet Tubman appear in the text; so do brilliant inventors like Benjamin Boyd and Henry Montgomery who were not allowed to take credit for their creations while others reaped the benefits. That didn't stop them and others like them from continuing to innovate. This picture book recounts different points in African American history and does so in a way that is understandable to a picture book audience without watering it down or lessening the impact. The African ancestors' resilience is awe-inspiring, and this book does an outstanding job of telling their story and honoring them. Each page spread is a piece of artwork worthy of a museum. The blend of colors and media draws readers in to appreciate every detail. VERDICT A celebration of African ancestry with enthralling artwork and a compelling and easy-to-understand story that belongs in every collection.—Myiesha Speight, formerly at Towson Univ., Baltimore Copyright 2021 School Library Journal.

Review by Publisher Summary 1

"Your story begins in Africa. Your African ancestors defied the odds and survived 400 years of slavery in America and passed down an extraordinary legacy to you. Beginning in Africa before 1619, Your Legacy presents an unprecedentedly accessible, empowering, and proud introduction to African American history for children. While your ancestors' freedom was taken from them, their spirit was not; this book celebrates their accomplishments, acknowledges their sacrifices, and defines how they are remembered-and how their stories should be taught"--

Review by Publisher Summary 2

Presents an unprecedentedly accessible, empowering and proud introduction to African American history for children, celebrating enslaved ancestors’ accomplishments, acknowledging their sacrifices, defining how they are remembered and how their stories should be taught. 150,000 first printing. Illustrations.

Review by Publisher Summary 3

A proud, empowering introduction to African American history that celebrates and honors enslaved ancestorsYour story begins in Africa. Your African ancestors defied the odds and survived 400 years of slavery in America and passed down an extraordinary legacy to you. Beginning in Africa before 1619, Your Legacy presents an unprecedentedly accessible, empowering, and proud introduction to African American history for children. While your ancestors’ freedom was taken from them, their spirit was not; this book celebrates their accomplishments, acknowledges their sacrifices, and defines how they are remembered—and how their stories should be taught.

Review by Publisher Summary 4

A proud, empowering introduction to African American history that celebrates and honors enslaved ancestorsYour story begins in Africa. Your African ancestors defied the odds and survived 400 years of slavery in America and passed down an extraordinary legacy to you.   Beginning in Africa before 1619, Your Legacy presents an unprecedentedly accessible, empowering, and proud introduction to African American history for children. While your ancestors’ freedom was taken from them, their spirit was not; this book celebrates their accomplishments, acknowledges their sacrifices, and defines how they are remembered—and how their stories should be taught.