Tuesday, December 9, 2014

ALL DIFFERENT NOW by Angela Johnson


ABOUT THE BOOK

Experience the joy of Juneteenth in this celebration of freedom from the award-winning team of Angela Johnson and E.B. Lewis.

Through the eyes of one little girl, All Different Now tells the story of the first Juneteenth, the day freedom finally came to the last of the slaves in the South. Since then, the observance of June 19 as African American Emancipation Day has spread across the United States and beyond. This stunning picture book includes notes from the author and illustrator, a timeline of important dates, and a glossary of relevant terms.

Told in Angela Johnson's signature melodic style and brought to life by E.B. Lewis's striking paintings, All Different Now is a joyous portrait of the dawn breaking on the darkest time in our nation's history.


REVIEW

There is something extra special about a book like this that is based on family experiences.  As the author explains in an author's note at the end that this story was inspired by a photograph that of her great-grandparents that she saw as a child.  When the Civil War is studied, most often the issuance of the Emancipation Proclamation is considered the moment when slaves were freed.  But many slaves didn't ever hear about that, they were too far away.  This is the story of a group of slaves that doesn't hear about their freedom until the 13th amendment had been passed through the efforts of an union general.  One can only imagine the way they must have felt and that is exactly what Johnson does here.  And I think she does a great job as does Lewis.  I found Lewis's note about creating the illustrations fascinating.  To go to so much work in creating time period appropriate photographs before he does the pictures.  The celebration is neat to read about, but still all the uncertainty created is shown in the last picture with the people leaving in wagons going who knows where to do who knows what.  A book full of celebrations and hope in the power of freedom, a legacy that hopefully we today can continue.

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