African Town

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Product Details

$18.99  $17.66
G.P. Putnam's Sons Books for Young Readers
Publish Date
5.5 X 8.4 X 1.5 inches | 1.2 pounds

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About the Author

Irene Latham & Charles Waters are "Poetic Forever Friends" first and collaborators second. They are the writing team behind Can I Touch Your Hair? Poems of Race, Mistakes, and Friendship, which was awarded a Charlotte Huck Honor, and Dictionary for a Better World: Poems, Quotes, and Anecdotes from A to Z, an NCTE Notable Poetry Book. They share a passion for poetry and are committed to creating meaningful books for young readers. This is their first novel together.


Praise for African Town

A 2022 NPR Books We Love Summer Reading Recommendation
A 2022 Great Reads from Great Places Reading List Pick (AL)

"African Town is a stunningly powerful and visceral novel." --Oprah Daily

"A haunting, beautifully told history." --NPR

★ "The authors have done a remarkable job of weaving the stories of the characters together and telling the story from both the perspective of the slaves and the people who orchestrated their purchase. Though this story is fictional it is based on a vast amount of research that was done on the actual people who participated in this story. . . This story will inspire readers to do some research to find out more about the real events that took place. . . Not to be missed." --School Library Connection, starred review

★ "Inspired by the true story of the last American slave ship, African Town is an epic . . . compelling novel that doubles as an important historic document, invaluable for both classroom use and independent reading." --Booklist, starred review

★ "African Town is a book that should be both taught and treasured."--BookPage, starred review

★ "This gripping novel . . . [is] told from the perspectives of a myriad characters directly and indirectly involved in this event . . . where each unique voice contributes to the greater whole. Carefully executed passages appear in various forms of free verse and poetry, and each one is specific to the particular character represented. This choice makes the individual contributors not only come alive but also stand out from one another as the narrative progresses. Extensively researched and purposefully designed, this book brings together details of events from 1859 to 1901 and culminates in several pages of back matter that reinforce the entire work. VERDICT This honest, heartrending, and inspiring story is an important and necessary contribution to historical fiction collections for young adult readers." --School Library Journal, starred review

"An ambitious verse novel told in many voices . . . The authors employ a range of poetic forms, resulting in an insightful, quickly paced telling that centers tradition and resilience." --Publishers Weekly

"The highly personal stories in verse reveal the different aspects of this illegal trade and the impact on both the Black enslaved people and the White crew members. . . The Africans' attempts to hold true to their home cultures and traditions--most were Yoruba--as they try to adapt to their new reality come across most powerfully. Enhanced by rich backmatter, this is a strong addition to literature about slavery." --Kirkus Reviews

"A thoughtful portrait of how trauma informs and inhibits identity making. The end matter is a wealth of fascinating information, from the author's note that details Waters and Lathams' research process, to a list that elaborates on the characters' lives, to an account of what modern day Africatown (formerly Africa Town) looks like." --The Bulletin of the Center for Children's Books