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Freedom Over Me
Cover of Freedom Over Me
Freedom Over Me
Eleven Slaves, Their Lives and Dreams Brought to Life by Ashley Bryan
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Newbery Honor Book Coretta Scott King Author Honor Book Coretta Scott King Illustrator Honor Book Using original slave auction and plantation estate documents, Ashley Bryan offers a moving and powerful...
Newbery Honor Book Coretta Scott King Author Honor Book Coretta Scott King Illustrator Honor Book Using original slave auction and plantation estate documents, Ashley Bryan offers a moving and powerful...
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  • Newbery Honor Book
    Coretta Scott King Author Honor Book
    Coretta Scott King Illustrator Honor Book

    Using original slave auction and plantation estate documents, Ashley Bryan offers a moving and powerful picture book that contrasts the monetary value of a slave with the priceless value of life experiences and dreams that a slave owner could never take away.
    Imagine being looked up and down and being valued as less than chair. Less than an ox. Less than a dress. Maybe about the same as...a lantern.

    You, an object. An object to sell.

    In his gentle yet deeply powerful way, Ashley Bryan goes to the heart of how a slave is given a monetary value by the slave owner, tempering this with the one thing that CAN'T be bought or sold—dreams. Inspired by the actual will of a plantation owner that lists the worth of each and every one of his "workers", Bryan has created collages around that document, and others like it. Through fierce paintings and expansive poetry he imagines and interprets each person's life on the plantation, as well as the life their owner knew nothing about—their dreams and pride in knowing that they were worth far more than an Overseer or Madam ever would guess. Visually epic, and never before done, this stunning picture book is unlike anything you've seen.
 

Awards-

About the Author-

  • Ashley Bryan grew up to the sound of his mother singing from morning to night, and he has shared the joy of song with children ever since. A beloved illustrator, he was recently named a Newbery Honoree for his picture book, Freedom Over Me. He has also been the recipient of the Coretta Scott King—Virginia Hamilton Lifetime Achievement Award; the Laura Ingalls Wilder Award; a May Hill Arbuthnot lecturer; a Coretta Scott King Award winner; and the recipient of countless other awards and recognitions. His books include Freedom Over Me; Sail Away; Beautiful Blackbird; Beat the Story-Drum, Pum Pum; Let It Shine; Ashley Bryan's Book of Puppets; and What a Wonderful World. He lives in Islesford, one of the Cranberry Isles off the coast of Maine.

Reviews-

  • Publisher's Weekly

    Starred review from July 4, 2016
    Using a document from 1828 that lists the value of a U.S. landowner’s 11 slaves, Bryan (Sail Away) creates distinct personalities and voices for each, painting their portraits and imagining their dreams. He starts with the wife of the slave owner, who felt her husband was good to their slaves (“He never hired an overseer”). But it’s quickly clear that “good” slave ownership is an oxymoron: “I work hard—all profit to the estate,” their cook Peggy observes. Bryan shows that the enslaved had secret lives of their own: “Years ago blacksmith Bacus and I/ ‘jumped the broom’—/ the slave custom for marriage. No legal form for slaves.” They cherish their traditions, call each other by their African names (“I am Bisa, ‘Greatly Loved’ ”), dream of escape, and long for freedom. His portraits show the men, women, and children gazing out at readers, the contours of their faces traced as if carved from wood, while strong rhythmic outlines mimic stained glass, echoing the sense of sacred memory. There are few first-person accounts of slaves, and these imagined words will strike a chord with even the youngest readers. Ages 6–10.

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    Atheneum/Caitlyn Dlouhy Books
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Freedom Over Me
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Eleven Slaves, Their Lives and Dreams Brought to Life by Ashley Bryan
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