“Africa is My Home: A Child of the Amistad”
Written by: Monica Edinger
Illustrated by: Robert Byrd
Publisher: Candlewick Press
Copyright Date: 2013
Number of Pages: 60
To help broaden students understanding of diverse cultures around the world, multicultural trade books are essential to a literacy rich classroom. The book that stuck out to me while I was in the library was “Africa is My Home: A Child of the Amistad.” This story is told from the perspective of a little African girl who desperately wants to go back to Africa. She was a child that was aboard the Amistad which was a slave ship that was taken over by Africans. The Africans were put on trial to decide whether they would be sent back to their homeland or stay as slaves in America. Read this emotional tale of a child’s longing to be home and find out if she makes it home to Africa.
The illustrations in this great book are done in ink and watercolor. These pictures are soft to look at, but because of the ink, the details can still be seen. The content in this book could be depicted in a very gory manner; however, Byrd captures the essence of the difficult scenes in a less intense way through the chosen media. Also, Byrd captures the different cultures in an effective way. From the simple nature scenes when the character is in Africa to the congested city scenes in America, the illustrations help the reader distinguish the difference in culture. Altogether, the illustrations in this book help in the overall depiction of the story of the Amistad and Margru.
Multicultural books are essential for students to have a board perspective about the world. this book would most likely be in a sixth grade classroom because of the length and content depth. I would use this book during a history lesson on slavery in the United States. The students would do a character analysis of Margru, and this analysis would help to give the nameless slaves that we study a face, name, and story for the students to relate to. Second, geography seems to be out the door in most classrooms today, and this book would be a bridge into a mini lessons on world geography. The book has a detailed map of Africa with capital cities of major countries. The children would label a map as a activity. Finally, I have direct experience with West Africans, and I would use this book to explain the difference in culture. The struggle the girl experiences when she comes to America would be a writing prompt for the students. “How would you feel if you were taken to a foreign country?” The students could put themselves in her shoes, and then they can better understand her struggle. Overall, this book has been my favorite so far to add to my blog list because of my heart for African Culture.