Friday, February 23, 2018

Freedom Over Me: Eleven Slaves, Their Lives and Dreams Brought to Life by Ashley Bryan by Ashley Bryan (2016)

In what seems like long ago, in a far away galaxy, I was a children's librarian.  It actually wasn't all that long ago - six years - but it seems like an eternity.  I'm now a library administrator - and let's be brutally honest, that's not the most glamorous of jobs - but I still read some children's literature, particularly picture books.  I used to eagerly look forward to the Newbery and Caldecott award announcements.  I was often at the midwinter conference where they were announced; once I was at the announcement, although that was always quite early in the morning.  I would then make sure my library had all the books, and if not, I would order them.  And I'd often read most if not all of the books.  That life is now behind me.  

Freedom Over Me was a Newbery honor book as well as Coretta Scott King honor book.  I didn't realize this until I looked it up online - part of the fall out of not being a children's librarian.  I never know the new books.  I also read this on my phone - and wasn't able to see the neat little medal on the front cover.  I did take a gander at a physical copy, but only briefly.  

Reading a picture book on your phone is just NOT the best way to read a picture book.  You definitely miss out on nuance, and also on grandeur.  It just looks flat and mostly unattractive.  Even so, I could tell this was a lovely, and moving book.  

My rating: 5 of 5 stars
Sad, grand book. Ashley Bryan's illustrations are vibrant, sumptuous, spirited. They draw you into the real lives and dream lives of the eleven slaves Bryan is writing about and creating art about. You feel their pain, learn their stories, feel their joy. A real masterpiece.

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