Saturday, June 09, 2007

Middle Passage Day

Today is Middle Passage Day. I learned about it through this article. The observance — which honors the millions of Africans who died crossing the Atlantic Ocean during the slave trade — has been going on for the past 18 years. New to me, but I'm all for honoring my ancestors.

Reading the article, I thought about the book by Tom Feelings, The Middle Passage: White Ships/ Black Cargo. This is the ultimate picture book — 80 pages, no words. I love this book. I don't think any other picture book matches the emotion that Feelings captured. With heart-stopping, pen-and-ink and tempra paintings, Feelings chronicles the journey of Africans, captured and brought to America to be enslaved.

It's a great children's book, but definitely not a book for children only. I have two copies (paid $50.00 each, now $75.00). I bought a second one when I thought I'd lost the first. I was afraid the book would go out of print and I wouldn't be able to get another.

In other news: I haven't had time to read. I can't write when I can't read.


cloudscome said...

I hadn't heard of this observance before either. On Saturday I was reading The Eye, the Ear and the Arm by Nancy Farmer. It's a story about Zimbabwe in the year 2194. I also read The Light in the Forest by Conrad Richter and So Far From the Bamboo Grove by Yoko Kawashima Watkins. It's Mother Reader's 48 Hour book challenge. I am dazed by all these stories of violence and oppression.

I'd like to see that Tom Feelings book sometime.

B. Johansen Newman said...

Don, I had the pleasure of meeting Tom Feelings and getting this book signed by him several years ago at an NESCBWI Illustrators' day. He was the guest speaker.

He was a lovely, gentle man. He generously offered advice and spoke about his process. I was surpised to hear that he worked to size! I always blow things up as much as I can manage.

I am so glad I got the book.