Hot Best Seller

Never Forgotten (Ala Notable Children's Books. All Ages)

Availability: Ready to download

"Forceful and iconic," raved Publishers Weekly in a starred review. This gorgeous picture book by Newbery Honor winner Patricia C. McKissack and two-time Caldecott Medal-winning husband-and-wife team Leo and Diane Dillon is sure to become a treasured keepsake for African American families. Set in West Africa, here is a lyrical story-in-verse about a young black boy who is "Forceful and iconic," raved Publishers Weekly in a starred review. This gorgeous picture book by Newbery Honor winner Patricia C. McKissack and two-time Caldecott Medal-winning husband-and-wife team Leo and Diane Dillon is sure to become a treasured keepsake for African American families. Set in West Africa, here is a lyrical story-in-verse about a young black boy who is kidnapped and sold into slavery, which will remind children that their slave ancestors should never be forgotten, and that family is more important than anything else.From the Hardcover edition.


Compare

"Forceful and iconic," raved Publishers Weekly in a starred review. This gorgeous picture book by Newbery Honor winner Patricia C. McKissack and two-time Caldecott Medal-winning husband-and-wife team Leo and Diane Dillon is sure to become a treasured keepsake for African American families. Set in West Africa, here is a lyrical story-in-verse about a young black boy who is "Forceful and iconic," raved Publishers Weekly in a starred review. This gorgeous picture book by Newbery Honor winner Patricia C. McKissack and two-time Caldecott Medal-winning husband-and-wife team Leo and Diane Dillon is sure to become a treasured keepsake for African American families. Set in West Africa, here is a lyrical story-in-verse about a young black boy who is kidnapped and sold into slavery, which will remind children that their slave ancestors should never be forgotten, and that family is more important than anything else.From the Hardcover edition.

30 review for Never Forgotten (Ala Notable Children's Books. All Ages)

  1. 4 out of 5

    Betsy

    The more I read children’s literature the more I come to realize that my favorite books for kids are the ones that can take disparate facts, elements, and stories and then weave them together into a perfect whole. That someone like Brian Selznick can link automatons and the films of Georges Melies in The Invention of Hugo Cabret or Kate Milford can spin a story from the history of bicycles and the Jake Leg Scandal in The Boneshaker thrills me. Usually such authors reserve their talents for chapt The more I read children’s literature the more I come to realize that my favorite books for kids are the ones that can take disparate facts, elements, and stories and then weave them together into a perfect whole. That someone like Brian Selznick can link automatons and the films of Georges Melies in The Invention of Hugo Cabret or Kate Milford can spin a story from the history of bicycles and the Jake Leg Scandal in The Boneshaker thrills me. Usually such authors reserve their talents for chapter books. There they’ve room to expound at length. And Patricia McKissack is no stranger to such works of fiction. Indeed some of her chapter books are the best in a given library collection (I’ve a personal love of her Porch Lies). But for Never Forgotten Ms. McKissack took tales of Mende blacksmiths and Caribbean legends of hurricanes and combined them into a picture book. Not just any picture book, mind you, but one that seeks to answer a question that I’ve never heard adequately answered in any books for kids: When Africans were kidnapped by the slave trade and sent across the sea, how did the people left behind react? The answer comes in this original folktale. Accompanied by the drop dead gorgeous art of Leo & Diane Dillon, the book serves to remind and heal all at once. The fact that it’s beautiful to both eye and ear doesn’t hurt matters much either. When the great Mende blacksmith Dinga found himself with a baby boy after his wife died he bucked tradition and insisted on raising the boy himself. For Musafa, his son, Dinga called upon the Mother Elements of Earth, Fire, Water and Wind and had them bless the child. Musafa grew in time but spent his blacksmithing on creating small creatures from metal. Then, one day, Dinga discovers that Musafa has been kidnapped by slave traders in the area. Incensed, each of the four elements attempts to help Dinga get Musafa back, but in vain. Finally, Wind manages to travel across the sea. There she finds Musafa has found a way to make use of his talent with metal, creating gates in a forge like no one else's. And Dinga, back at home, is comforted by her tale that his son is alive and, for all intents and purposes, well. McKissack’s desire to give voice to the millions of parents and families that mourned the kidnapping of their children ends her book on a bittersweet note. After reading about Musafa’s disappearance and eventual life, the book finishes with this: “Remember the wisdom of Mother Dongi: / ‘Kings may come and go, / But the family endures forever.’ / Think on that when the silence comes.” It’s a dark line but a strong one. It speaks not just to the story we’ve read here but to any occasion where a family is split. And there’s a strange comfort in its chilling “when the silence comes” which refers back to the first sentence in the passage reading “The last part of a story is the silence.” The very beginning of the book, you see, mentions that “We rarely speak of the Taken” and it is this the truth that McKissack works to rectify. As an author, Patricia McKissack has always had a knack for language. Her wordplay can be a delight to listen to (as in Precious and the Boo Hag or Flossie and the Fox) or chill you to the core (as in The Dark Thirty). Here, she does both at once. She begins the book by wrapping you up in the love the blacksmith Dinga has for his son. She works in fantastical elements with the four elements passing on their blessings like good fairies. And then the nightmare of Musafa’s capture evokes similar slavery folktales like Virginia Hamilton’s The People Could Fly. Mixing horrific history with fairytale elements shouldn’t work, but under McKissack’s hands it does. Finally, there is the readaloud aspect to this book. These passages ache to be spoken aloud. Even on the page there is a rhythm to them, but I look forward to hearing someone read them to me so that I can hear McKissack’s cadences for myself. I’ve participated in a number of debates amongst librarians trying desperately to figure out how to categorize this book. At first it was in nonfiction. That was a location swiftly discarded after, y’know, reading the book. Next it was placed in the picture book area, and that’s certainly a logical place for it. But then someone noticed that each section of this title looks like a little poem. So should it be called poetry instead? The publication page calls it a “novel in verse”, so would you label it straight up fiction? It's unclear. Leo and Diane Dillon are a talented fare. Two time Caldecott Medal winners, if you’ve ever seen their Why Mosquitoes Buzz in People’s Ears then you are familiar with their work. In this book the two seem to return to the style that captured the world’s attention lo these many years ago. Way back in 1977 they won a medal for Ashanti to Zulu: African Traditions. It’s a cool book, but since then they’ve played around with a variety of different styles. Indeed, this year is seeing their work in the publication not just of this book but also a new version of The Secret River by Marjorie Kinnan Rawlings. And the art in that title is perfectly nice, don’t get me wrong. But if you’re going to remember a book the Dillons did this year, it’s going to be Never Forgotten. Though they work in acrylics and watercolors on bristol board, the art here resembles hewn woodcuts. Figures have a carved, chopped feel to them, integrated with delicate patterns and details. The Dillons then alternate large full-page images with moments of spot illustration above, alongside, and below the individual sections. In this way the text and the images are seamlessly integrated. Now look at what they do with borders. In a given illustration the artists might surround an image with a thick black line. Then, as you would in a graphic novel, elements of the picture within will push out and leap past that border. Dinga’s head and hands create a pure white space as he calls upon the elements to behold his son. The prow of a slave ship and the heads of its captives are the only portions able to escape the back borders of an auction scene. And then there’s the use of skulls. They’re everywhere in this book, often on the faces of the villains or lurking just behind them. You might see a ship captain’s face as a skull in one scene or on an auctioneer in another. It’s creepy and perfect. A subtle easy-to-miss element that drills home the horror. One might quibble with the ending. At the story’s close Dinga learns that his son works as a blacksmith, using his talents, and because of this he will possibly be freed “one day soon”. Now whatever blacksmith Musafa works for, it seems highly unlikely that a man would free Musafa after detecting his valuable skills. We’re deep into folktale territory here, so an unrealistic ending (the last page shows Musafa and his happy, smiling, presumably free family) is not a terrible thing. Still, it’s important to make it clear to kids that Musafa’s fate was the exception and not the rule. Pairing this with Laban Carrick Hill’s Dave the Potter may be the best way to drill that idea home too. Like Musafa, Dave was talented. Unlike Musafa he was real and never freed because of his talents. Now my musical theater nerdship makes its presence known. If I were to compare this book to anything, honestly, it would be to the musical Once on This Island. Where else would I have seen a story where the very elements of the world join together to aid a black child against a historical backdrop? I compare this book to a play mostly because there’s little to compare it to in the picture book world. The works of the aforementioned Virginia Hamilton, perhaps, but she’s one of the few authors that come to mind. No, Ms. McKissack is striding into new territory here. And while I might have tweaked that ending a bit, there’s no denying that as a visual and audible product, Never Forgotten it is difficult to find a match. Beautiful and wrenching to its core, this is history made palatable for the younger set. Teach them with folktales and the real story will burn through in time. A true, unadulterated, original. For ages 4 and up.

  2. 4 out of 5

    Krista the Krazy Kataloguer

    I'm going to call this a novel (more like a story) in verse, because it's catalogued as fiction and it's told in poems. Patricia McKissack has written another winner with this account of a Mende blacksmith's beloved son, who is captured and sold into slavery in Carolina. McKissack states in her author's note at the end that she wanted to tell the story of the people left behind in Africa, and how they remembered their loved ones who were stolen away. The lyrical words and the Dillons' beautiful I'm going to call this a novel (more like a story) in verse, because it's catalogued as fiction and it's told in poems. Patricia McKissack has written another winner with this account of a Mende blacksmith's beloved son, who is captured and sold into slavery in Carolina. McKissack states in her author's note at the end that she wanted to tell the story of the people left behind in Africa, and how they remembered their loved ones who were stolen away. The lyrical words and the Dillons' beautiful illustrations combine to create a story that lingers in your mind after you've read it. I like how she incorporates the four elements--fire, water, wind, and earth, all said to have been commanded by the Mende blacksmiths--into the story, to tell parts of it that Dinga, the father left in Africa, could not see. My favorite lines were, in fact, about Water, who, after she reported on what she had seen to Dinga, So saddened by what she had to report, Water melted into the river, Where her tears flooded the shore. Beautiful. This should win a Coretta Scott King Award at least, if not a Caldecott. Highly recommended!

  3. 4 out of 5

    Ursula

      This is a beautifully written story about one man's loss of his son to slavery. It shows the hurt, sorrow, and despair. Everyone should read it. Beautifully illustrated, this will tear at your heartstrings, and show you how important it is to never forget.  

  4. 4 out of 5

    Margo Tanenbaum

    I was immediately drawn to the stunning cover of this new work by Patricia C. McKissack, who has written or co-authored over 100 books about the African-American experience and has received countless awards for her work. In her newest work, she marries African folktales with historical fiction, telling in free verse the story of an 18th century West African boy raised by his blacksmith father and the Mother Elements--Wind, Fire, Water, and Earth. The boy, named Mufasa, disappears one day, like s I was immediately drawn to the stunning cover of this new work by Patricia C. McKissack, who has written or co-authored over 100 books about the African-American experience and has received countless awards for her work. In her newest work, she marries African folktales with historical fiction, telling in free verse the story of an 18th century West African boy raised by his blacksmith father and the Mother Elements--Wind, Fire, Water, and Earth. The boy, named Mufasa, disappears one day, like so many others--captured by the slave traders and taken by ship to a far-away land. Wind, Fire, Water and Earth try to save Mufasa, but none is powerful enough. Nonetheless, the wind finally brings Mufasa news that his son is still alive, and working as a blacksmith, although still a slave. McKissack celebrates in this story "the son who was taken,/But never forgotten. She was inspired to write this tale by her curiosity about how African literature and music portrayed those ripped from their families by the slave trade. Clearly these individuals were mourned by their families, but she could not find any stories, dances, feasts or other stories about the "Taken," so she decided to write her own using elements of African folklore for her story. The free verse allows McKissack to create a rhythm to her language that in certain passages is reminiscent of drums beating. This moving tale of family members loved and lost is magnificently illustrated by the two-time Caldecott Medal-winning team of Leo and Diane Dillon. The illustrations were created in acrylic and watercolor on bristol board, and the artistic style clearly shows the influence of African art. I will not be at all surprised to see this book honored with many awards, particularly for its powerful illustrations.

  5. 4 out of 5

    Carolynne

    McKissack emulates the chant of the griots before and after slavers kidnapped a young boy from a Mali village. She focuses on his father, a blacksmith, who according to tradition commands the four elements of earth, wind, water, and fire, and here uses them to try to find his beloved son. It is the wind who finds the boy who was lost, and tells his people what has become of him. Rather too optimistic an ending, but if I were the wind, I'd have done the same. Moving, poetic, sometimes dense text. McKissack emulates the chant of the griots before and after slavers kidnapped a young boy from a Mali village. She focuses on his father, a blacksmith, who according to tradition commands the four elements of earth, wind, water, and fire, and here uses them to try to find his beloved son. It is the wind who finds the boy who was lost, and tells his people what has become of him. Rather too optimistic an ending, but if I were the wind, I'd have done the same. Moving, poetic, sometimes dense text. Powerful, emotional art by the Dillons (acrylic and watercolor on Bristol board. Helpful author's note at the end. Be sure to read the Goodreads review by Elizabeth Bird; she says it so much more eloquently than I can. This was a Coretta Scott King Illustrator Honor book, and the creators have won many other awards as well. The Dillons twice won the Caldecott award: for Why Mosquitos Buzz in People's Ears and Ashanti to Zulu: African Traditions.

  6. 4 out of 5

    Laura

    Patricia C McKissack was inspired to write this book in response to the question that haunts African Americans, the descendants of the "The Taken,"-- "Were we missed?" This beautiful book, told in verse, is the story of a father mourning and searching for his son who was taken by slave traders. McKissack blends the story-telling styles of different African tribes with the legends of the Caribbean slaves to create a haunting tale. In addition, the artwork is absolutely stunning. This book would be Patricia C McKissack was inspired to write this book in response to the question that haunts African Americans, the descendants of the "The Taken,"-- "Were we missed?" This beautiful book, told in verse, is the story of a father mourning and searching for his son who was taken by slave traders. McKissack blends the story-telling styles of different African tribes with the legends of the Caribbean slaves to create a haunting tale. In addition, the artwork is absolutely stunning. This book would be appropriate for most upper grade classrooms. I think that it would provide an excellent mirror to the classic slave narrative which is typically told from the European or enslaved African's point of view. In this book, we are given the additional perspective of those who escape being enslaved, but are still affected by the tragedy. The book would also be a great starting point for research into African legends and how those stories were blended to create the unique culture of the African slaves. Another research idea would be to investigate the artist style of the book and learn why the illustrators chose to use that style. One final classroom application would be to have students write poems or journal entries from the point of view of people affected by historical events. For example, a child whose father has gone to fight in the Revolutionary War or the child of a Civil Rights organizer.

  7. 5 out of 5

    Josiah

    An inspiring meld of African folk literature and modern storytelling technique, Never Forgotten is stunning in equal measure for its emotionally involving plot and the evocative artwork that accompanies it; of course, this is what one tends to expect from author Patricia C. McKissack and illustrators Leo and Diane Dillon. So much of why this story hits home like it does is the flawless way in which text and artwork fit together to give a sweeping, unobscured vision of African culture and the jo An inspiring meld of African folk literature and modern storytelling technique, Never Forgotten is stunning in equal measure for its emotionally involving plot and the evocative artwork that accompanies it; of course, this is what one tends to expect from author Patricia C. McKissack and illustrators Leo and Diane Dillon. So much of why this story hits home like it does is the flawless way in which text and artwork fit together to give a sweeping, unobscured vision of African culture and the joy that can emerge out of the sorrow of human experience. Even as the heat of suffering began rising to agonizing levels with the arrival of American slave ships, come to capture the children of the Africans and send them across the ocean to a land where their parents would likely never see them again, the joy of the people's spirits refused to die, would not lie down and accept defeat even in a situation so bleak and seemingly hopeless. Never Forgotten begins with the story of the great Mende blacksmith Dingal, greatly respected among his people but struck squarely one day by the death of his wife as she gives birth to their only son, Musafa. Though his contemporary culture says that it isn't a father's place to bring up a baby, that a widower should either find a new woman to marry or relinquish the orphaned child to a family with two parents, Dingal shakes off these expectations of his friends and neighbors, determining that he will care for his son on his own. Brave, revered man that he is, Dingal straps the baby onto his back just as a woman would do and carries his precious cargo with no shame, going about his work as if it were the most natural thing in the world for a father to be carrying his child at all times. The ties that bind Dingal and Musafa are those of necessity and love, and no social convention can ever be more enduring than such strong, instinctive ties as these. Dingal isn't entirely on his own in bringing up Musafa, though. Where the strengths of a committed father end and the need for a mother begins, Dingal relies upon the four natural spirits of this world―Earth, Fire, Water and Wind―to help provide for Musafa, nurturing the child in comfort and quiet strength as he grows. Musafa doesn't take to the work of the anvil the same way his father does, but the spirits soothe Dingal's concerns, telling him "One day his hammer will find a song". Musafa has more in his future than simply following in his father's footsteps; blacksmithing will play a part in his life, for sure, but there is a larger destiny into which Musafa has been made to fit, and even the evil storm that approaches cannot snuff out the future for which Musafa is headed. Then the slave ships arrive, and the wailing voices of many join into one continental cry of bereavement as children are taken away forever, including the joy of Dingal's soul, Musafa. Not even the wise spirits of Earth, Fire, Water and Wind can help bring back Musafa now, but as Dingal slowly begins to comprehend the horrifying reality that he probably won't ever come face to face with his beloved son again, there is still solace to be had in the words of the Wind, who finds her own way to give Dingal the gift of a contented spirit in the knowledge that Musafa may be a world away, but the wisdom and virtue that Dingal instilled in him as he grew up are ballast enough to keep him afloat wherever he goes. Dingal will never stop missing Musafa, will never forget the son who was his wife's final and sweetest gift to him, but Musafa has become capable of standing on his own two feet and meeting the New World with all the courage and inner strength modeled to him throughout his youth by his father. So often when we lose what's most important to us the foundational structure of our life quickly crumbles, and we come to realize that we never really had the strength to stand on our own. Never Forgotten, though, is a story about quite the opposite effect. When the waves come crashing and the storm rocks the foundation of their life with a violence that most will never know, Dingal and Musafa, separated by the miles, each stands up straighter and prouder, never forgetting the strength to be found in the memories of those they love and what they taught them for the time that circumstances allowed them to be a part of each other's life. Continuing to stand tall in the face of cruel loss doesn't have to mean forgetting the past; in fact, remembering it can be the key to remaining upright even through the most stringent of trials, the most arduous of journeys either physical or metaphorical. Because love never gives up, and knowing that there's someone out there who still loves you and cares about what's happening to you is a flame that not even the most blustery storm can extinguish. Of all the outstanding artwork in this book, I think it's the rendering of the Fire spirit that I find most intriguing. The flaming strength of the spirit as it tries to ward off Musafa's kidnappers brings to exquisite life that part of the story, as the drawings do throughout the book. The author and illustrators have really created something special in Never Forgotten, a book that I think could have been a legitimate contender for both the Newbery and Caldecott awards in 2012. I can hardly imagine any reader not liking this book, and I would give it at least two and a half stars.

  8. 4 out of 5

    Morgan Jones

    This book is a collection of poems about slavery. It tells the story of a young boy who was captured in Africa and enslaved in America during 1725. It is told from the point of view of the father and shows many emotions walking through the story. This book is important to children's literature because it is a part of history that can not be forgotten. the illustrations are very deep water colors. I gave this book 5 stars because it is a very important topic that is portrayed in a different manne This book is a collection of poems about slavery. It tells the story of a young boy who was captured in Africa and enslaved in America during 1725. It is told from the point of view of the father and shows many emotions walking through the story. This book is important to children's literature because it is a part of history that can not be forgotten. the illustrations are very deep water colors. I gave this book 5 stars because it is a very important topic that is portrayed in a different manner than typical and I find that to be important. All children take in topics differently and this is a different perspective. The illustrations are very good and show the events well.

  9. 4 out of 5

    Jean-Marie

    Never Forgotten is a beautifully written and illustrated story-in-verse about a blacksmith's son stolen in Africa and sold into slavery in the U.S. It's a perfect read to add to a slavery-themed book list for young readers (3rd grade and up).

  10. 4 out of 5

    Meagan Myhren-bennett

    NEVER FORGOTTEN By Patricia C. McKissack Artwork by Leo and Diane Dillon This is the most difficult book review, to date, that I have ever written. Nothing I write can do justice to this superb work of art. Never Forgotten is indeed a work of art. It is moving and touches the soul. Never Forgotten is a story of love, a story of memory, and a story of family. The lyrical meter and the artwork add to the feel, the moment of the story. Never Forgotten is a story of slavery, but it is told from the pers NEVER FORGOTTEN By Patricia C. McKissack Artwork by Leo and Diane Dillon This is the most difficult book review, to date, that I have ever written. Nothing I write can do justice to this superb work of art. Never Forgotten is indeed a work of art. It is moving and touches the soul. Never Forgotten is a story of love, a story of memory, and a story of family. The lyrical meter and the artwork add to the feel, the moment of the story. Never Forgotten is a story of slavery, but it is told from the perspective of those left behind. This is Dinga’s story, and even more than that a story of every family that ever had someone stolen from them for the purpose of slavery. Dinga is raising his son, Mufasa, alone after the death of his wife. But Dinga is raising his son with the help of the four Mother Elements - Earth, Fire, Water, and Wind. As the years passed there have been drums of warning - drums that spoke of an outside threat. But the threat was so far away that Dinga paid them little heed. When Mufasa was old enough Dinga began teaching him the skill of his family - blacksmithing. But one day as Mufasa gathered the brush for the fire he did not return. Dinga and the village searched for Mufasa, but could find no trace of the boy. Dinga asked the Mother Elements for their help but they were unable to stop the slavers and save Mufasa and stolen children of Africa. For several years Dinga lived in sorrow with no hope for his stolen son. But one day Wind returned and told Dinga a tale. A tale that made his heart celebrate - though his son was taken and lived across the ocean in a faraway land Mufasa had never forgotten. Mufasa used the skills his father had taught him and told of the father that had taught him well. This touching story of loss reminds us that “…the family endures forever,” and that “loved ones are never forgotten when we continue to tell their stories.” This title is a must for any African-American collection and would be perfect as the focal point of any Black History month display. It is appropriate for all age groups. This review is from an Advanced Digital Reader Copy provided by the Publisher for review purposes.

  11. 5 out of 5

    Debra Wake

    Audience - Grade level K and up, students studying slavery and black history, Subject - multi-cultural, black history, African storytelling and music Appeal - This is the story of what happened when the slaves were taken in Africa. It is the story of Dinga and his son Musafa. Musafa was brought up by Dinga with the help of Earth, Fire, Wind and Water and was taken and sold into slavery. His father never stopped missing him and loving him. Mufasa grew to be a strong, wise man bcause he never forgo Audience - Grade level K and up, students studying slavery and black history, Subject - multi-cultural, black history, African storytelling and music Appeal - This is the story of what happened when the slaves were taken in Africa. It is the story of Dinga and his son Musafa. Musafa was brought up by Dinga with the help of Earth, Fire, Wind and Water and was taken and sold into slavery. His father never stopped missing him and loving him. Mufasa grew to be a strong, wise man bcause he never forgot what his father had taught him. "Loved ones are never forgotten when we continue to tell their stories." This is written lyrically to express the sounds of African poetry and music. This could be used as a lesson on family history or as a focus of black history month. Awards - 2012 Coretta Scott King Author Award

  12. 5 out of 5

    Ashley Gregory

    Audience: 3rd-6th grade boys and girls, history classes, art classes. Appeal: This story was different from the moment I opened the cover. Not just one story, but many stories being told that allow the reader to feel, see, and sense what it was like to be an African slave. The author did a fantastic job of bringing together stories of the people From the blacksmith to the naming of a child, it all was represented beautifully. The artwork in itself captured a different aspect of the story as well Audience: 3rd-6th grade boys and girls, history classes, art classes. Appeal: This story was different from the moment I opened the cover. Not just one story, but many stories being told that allow the reader to feel, see, and sense what it was like to be an African slave. The author did a fantastic job of bringing together stories of the people From the blacksmith to the naming of a child, it all was represented beautifully. The artwork in itself captured a different aspect of the story as well. The drawings were done to represent African artwork and allow the reader to dive further into what the story is saying. These people really are not forgotten, but remembered through text nicely. Award List: Coretta Scott King 2012 author honor

  13. 5 out of 5

    RLL 520 Sharonda Kimbrough

    This was an amazing story. The author uses what some would consider poetry to tell the story of a person taken captive and sold into slavery. Although the words don't rhyme, the way in which the story is presented makes each page look like a short poem. The illustrations are colorful and vibrant and clearly illustrate the words written on the pages. This book would be a great way to introduce the topic of slavery either during black history month or in a regular history class. The images are sur This was an amazing story. The author uses what some would consider poetry to tell the story of a person taken captive and sold into slavery. Although the words don't rhyme, the way in which the story is presented makes each page look like a short poem. The illustrations are colorful and vibrant and clearly illustrate the words written on the pages. This book would be a great way to introduce the topic of slavery either during black history month or in a regular history class. The images are sure to keep the students attention!

  14. 4 out of 5

    Joanne Roberts

    Beautiful words and pictures work together to compose a stunning picture storybook in the oral tradition of Mali, West Africa. The new folktale uses 21 poems and paintings to tell the story of a boy kidnapped into slavery and shipped to the Caribbean, and how his father enlists the help of the elements to bring him news of his son.

  15. 5 out of 5

    Edward Sullivan

    A stunning, profoundly moving collaboration between a superb writer and two amazingly gifted artists.

  16. 5 out of 5

    Lauren Perlstein

    Copyright Date: 2011 Estimate of age level of interest: Grade 3-Grade 7 Estimate of reading level: Grade 5 Brief description: A series of poems that describe the African slave trade through a story about a father whose son was taken by Europeans, sold into slavery, and the journey to find him. Identify at least 2 characteristics of this genre and subgenre and discuss how they appear in your book: Poetry creates sensory images of sight, touch, smell, or taste: The poetry/verse along with the illustrat Copyright Date: 2011 Estimate of age level of interest: Grade 3-Grade 7 Estimate of reading level: Grade 5 Brief description: A series of poems that describe the African slave trade through a story about a father whose son was taken by Europeans, sold into slavery, and the journey to find him. Identify at least 2 characteristics of this genre and subgenre and discuss how they appear in your book: Poetry creates sensory images of sight, touch, smell, or taste: The poetry/verse along with the illustrations gives the reader a sense of the anguish caused by the separation of father and son as well as all the sensory images that wind, earth, fire and water as spirits give to the reader. The story in verse describes how these different spirits helped the father find his son by turning into a hurricane which becomes a vivid picture in the readers mind of all the elements combining in fury to find the enslaved young boy. Poetry has a clear sense of purpose: The verse in this book tells a story of enslavement but also the love between a father and son. The book was done in a purposeful way to allow the reader to feel and connect with the separation of the father and son but to also understand more deeply the history of enslavement in our country. In what ways and how well does the book as a whole serve its intended audience? This book would be a wonderful read aloud for children to talk about enslavement, love, family, and freedom. There are sounds and chants incorporated into the story to appeal to a younger child and the rhythm of the poetry is soothing. However, the vocabulary and sentence structure may be difficult to understand and follow. I would recommend this book as a read aloud for 3rd grade and up. Awards if any: Booklist Children’s Editors’ Choice WINNER 2011 Bulletin Blue Ribbon Book WINNER 2011 National Parenting Publications Awards (NAPPA) Gold Award WINNER 2011 Notable Books for a Global Society Award WINNER 2012 Oppenheim Toy Portfolio WINNER 2011 Parents’ Choice Gold Award WINNER 2012 Pen/Steven Kroll Award WINNER 2012 ALA Notable Children’s Book NOMINEE Bank Street Child Study Children’s Book Award NOMINEE NCSS/CBC Notable Children’s Trade Books in the Field of Social Studies NOMINEE Coretta Scott King Author Award HONOR Published reviews from professional sources e.g. ALA, Booklist, Kirkus, SLJ, etc. if any: Starred Review, Publishers Weekly, August 8, 2011 Starred Review, School Library Journal, August 2011 Starred Review, Booklist, September 1, 2011 Starred Review, Kirkus Reviews, September 1, 2011 Starred Review, The Bulletin of the Center for Children’s Books, November 1, 2011

  17. 5 out of 5

    Bethany F

    This beautifully crafted story written in verse is that of Dinga, a widowed blacksmith in West Africa that chooses to raise his son with the help of the Mother Elements: Earth, Fire, Water, and Wind rather than giving him to a woman in the tribe that was unable to bear her own children. Dinga’s son, named Musafa is stolen and sold as a slave, brought to the Carolinas to become a blacksmith’s apprentice. Musafa’s bravery and courage taught to him by his father and Mother Elements is what keeps Mu This beautifully crafted story written in verse is that of Dinga, a widowed blacksmith in West Africa that chooses to raise his son with the help of the Mother Elements: Earth, Fire, Water, and Wind rather than giving him to a woman in the tribe that was unable to bear her own children. Dinga’s son, named Musafa is stolen and sold as a slave, brought to the Carolinas to become a blacksmith’s apprentice. Musafa’s bravery and courage taught to him by his father and Mother Elements is what keeps Musafa strong and positive despite his given tragedy. The simple color palette and woodcut illustrations provide the reader with a magical visual connection to the text. Combining pieces of West African history, folktales, and legends, this text serves as a great addition to not only a poetry collection as its use of lyrical verse is exquisite, but is also serves well to discuss the themes of courage, bravery, and strong will. Never Forgotten was awarded the 2012 Coretta Scott King Award as well as ALA's Booklist Editors' Choice: Books for Youth in 2010. I would use this text in an upper elementary or middle school classroom to discuss the literary and poetic elements, but also the historical components that are included as well.

  18. 4 out of 5

    Dixie Keyes

    Probably the most provocative, deep book about the one African family's tragic experience with slavery that I've read....in picture book form. Rips apart any form of glossing over the kidnapping of people from their homes to serve the greed of America in that time period. The elements of nature played a role in seeking Mufasa after he had been taken, and the legend of the African blacksmiths and how they spoke to wind, fire, earth, and water takes us into the culture that comforted them and brou Probably the most provocative, deep book about the one African family's tragic experience with slavery that I've read....in picture book form. Rips apart any form of glossing over the kidnapping of people from their homes to serve the greed of America in that time period. The elements of nature played a role in seeking Mufasa after he had been taken, and the legend of the African blacksmiths and how they spoke to wind, fire, earth, and water takes us into the culture that comforted them and brought them news from far away. Another must for middle grade classrooms. Excellent for literature circles.

  19. 4 out of 5

    Kris Dersch

    Stunning. Glorious. Gorgeous. Profound. This is a hard to categorize book. It is poetry, has the trim size of a picture book, but flows kind of like a novel in verse. I think it's a melding of all those things. I thought it would be WAY over my 6-year-old's head but we were both riveted. The fantastical parts with the elements of wind, fire, water, and earth helped pull it together for him and the illustrations were glorious. The story is of the elements helping a grieving father find his son who Stunning. Glorious. Gorgeous. Profound. This is a hard to categorize book. It is poetry, has the trim size of a picture book, but flows kind of like a novel in verse. I think it's a melding of all those things. I thought it would be WAY over my 6-year-old's head but we were both riveted. The fantastical parts with the elements of wind, fire, water, and earth helped pull it together for him and the illustrations were glorious. The story is of the elements helping a grieving father find his son who was stolen into slavery. Read the author's note as well. Glorious. I'd recommend this for any age, from elementary school through adult.

  20. 4 out of 5

    Olivia Pollari

    This book is an African culture based book filled with poems/stories by loved ones who will never be forgotten when we continue to tell their stories. It starts out in the year 1725 when the hundreds and thousands of Africans were stolen for slaves. When I read this first story I felt empathy for them, made me sad. The books end its a story based on today reflecting on the rest of the book and ending on a positive note. overall, it was interesting to read to learn more about African culture and This book is an African culture based book filled with poems/stories by loved ones who will never be forgotten when we continue to tell their stories. It starts out in the year 1725 when the hundreds and thousands of Africans were stolen for slaves. When I read this first story I felt empathy for them, made me sad. The books end its a story based on today reflecting on the rest of the book and ending on a positive note. overall, it was interesting to read to learn more about African culture and get a feel for there feelings, also the images were really well done =3 stars!!

  21. 4 out of 5

    Nicholas & Megan Clinch

    These poems were a gentle, hauntingly vivid first reading for some tender hearted boys who ache at the thought of Musafa's story. Upon narrating, they compared him to Telemachus who honored his father's memory long after others had given up. They especially latched onto the strength of the four Mother Elements, who reminded us of Athena. Both the prose & illustration line work lit up their imaginations toward empathy; well done! These poems were a gentle, hauntingly vivid first reading for some tender hearted boys who ache at the thought of Musafa's story. Upon narrating, they compared him to Telemachus who honored his father's memory long after others had given up. They especially latched onto the strength of the four Mother Elements, who reminded us of Athena. Both the prose & illustration line work lit up their imaginations toward empathy; well done!

  22. 5 out of 5

    Amanda Quinn

    Most stories that talk about slavery start with the arrival of African's to America, or briefly mention their capture. I loved that half of this story took place in Africa (Mali) and that their culture was essential to the story. It's an excellent reminder that people had lives and beliefs and families and love before they arrived on our shores. The language and art was beautiful and I loved that the story was told through poetry. I will definitely be purchasing this book

  23. 5 out of 5

    Matthew Hunter

    Beautiful illustrations and poetry. Never Forgotten’s about a child caught up in the slave trade between Africa and the United States, so don’t pick it up for you and/or your kids unless you’re willing to sacrifice your mental ease for the broadening of young minds. It’s pretty damn awesome. Beautiful illustrations and poetry. Never Forgotten’s about a child caught up in the slave trade between Africa and the United States, so don’t pick it up for you and/or your kids unless you’re willing to sacrifice your mental ease for the broadening of young minds. It’s pretty damn awesome.

  24. 4 out of 5

    Judy Atterholt

    This book is a moving narrative poem with spectacular artwork about the lives of a blacksmith, Dinga and his son, Musafa, who is stolen from his home in western Africa and sold into slavery across the sea. It's also a story of survival--both of the individuals, and of their culture. The themes and artistry are both sophisticated and accessible for school-age children to adults.

  25. 4 out of 5

    Haowei Zhu

    The young boy kidnapped and sold in to slavery, the father loss his son. The illustration in this book are really beautiful but the story is really sad. When I read this books at first, I felt it like a poem. The author used different colors of background image to express the different feelings. The pain, lament and hopelessness.

  26. 4 out of 5

    Kim. E.

    There are many books written about the slave trade out of Africa, but this one focused less on the young man that was taken away and instead on the effect this loss has on the father left behind in Africa. An incredible book for children.

  27. 5 out of 5

    Jennifer Heise

    This is a beautiful book, with a folk-like story, imagining how the families left in Africa would have remembered those who were stolen as part of the slave trade(s).

  28. 4 out of 5

    Becca Ronco

    Interesting pictures. Different. Different storyline. Different cultures. Slaves. Old information. Things are different in other places.

  29. 5 out of 5

    Keli Wright

    Beautiful. Powerful. Heartbreaking. Joyful. Challenging.

  30. 4 out of 5

    Kristen

    1. Text to Text: Never Forgotten explains how Dinga, a blacksmith, lost his wife during child birth and raises his son, Musafa, with the help of the Mother Elements: Fire, Water, Earth, Wind. When Musafa is a preteen boy he is captured by slave traders and taken to America. All Mother elements try to save Musafa and return him safely home, but none of them succeed as planned. Anyway, the story reminded me of a Wishbone episode I saw when I was little based on The People Could Fly which was about 1. Text to Text: Never Forgotten explains how Dinga, a blacksmith, lost his wife during child birth and raises his son, Musafa, with the help of the Mother Elements: Fire, Water, Earth, Wind. When Musafa is a preteen boy he is captured by slave traders and taken to America. All Mother elements try to save Musafa and return him safely home, but none of them succeed as planned. Anyway, the story reminded me of a Wishbone episode I saw when I was little based on The People Could Fly which was about slaves who eventually flew home to Africa. Since this book is loosely based on an event that actually happened, it’s easy to make connections to other books, stories, movies, etc. about slavery or Africa. 2. Dingi, a young and newly widowed father, is told by other women that he cannot raise his son alone, that his son would grow up to be too rough “without the gentle hand of a mother to guide him.” But Dingi forges ahead and raises his son Musafa to be an 8th generation blacksmith with the help of the four Mother elements. African words are used through out the novel and the pictures depict a life and time much different than the America we live in currently. Never Forgotten also focuses on those four elements and the spiritual connection between them, Musafa, and the father. The author was trying to address the question, “Were [they] missed?” after being taken from Africa. I liked how this book addressed the family members who were left behind in Africa, since most books are about the African being taken and their experience. 3. Remembering: What are the four Mother elements? Understanding: Explain why the title is Never Forgotten. Applying: What skills did each Mother element help develop in Musafa? Analyzing: How would you compare or contrast Mother Wind and Mother Water? Evaluating: Do you think Dinga feels guilty by the end of the story? What quotes can you find that prove your answer? Creating: What do you think happens after this? School Library Journal suggested this book for grades 4-7, so I was counting this as my intermediate book.

Add a review

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Loading...
We use cookies to give you the best online experience. By using our website you agree to our use of cookies in accordance with our cookie policy.