Tuesday, January 20, 2009

Praying in Secret by Freddi Williams Evans

Evans, Freddi Williams Hush Harbor: Praying in Secret, Illustrated by Erin Bennett Banks. CarolRhoda Books, 2008. PICTURE BOOK - Language G, Sexual Content G, Violence G – Enslaved Africans in 19th century U.S. were not allowed to gather together for fear that they might plan uprisings. So they stole away to hidden spots (hush harbors) under the stars to sing and pray together in their own way, risking their lives in pursuit of religious freedom. This is the story of young Simmy, whose job it was to watch for danger while the others prayed and sang. It’s an important story and an author’s note includes historical information on these meetings and the establishment of African American churches. This is not a book that children would choose on their own. Banks is a celebrated illustrator of multicultural themes but I found the African figures to look distorted and unappealing. The religious theme may be most appropriate for home and church libraries.
EL - OPTIONAL. Janell Pearce-Mattheus, Youth Services Librarian, Whitmore Library.

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