Nearer My Freedom
The Interesting Life of Olaudah Equiano by Himself
by Monica Edinger; Lesley Younge
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Pub Date 07 Mar 2023 | Archive Date 28 Feb 2023
Lerner Publishing Group, Zest Books ™
Millions of Africans were enslaved during the transatlantic slave trade, but few recorded their personal experiences. Olaudah Equiano's The Interesting Narrative of the Life of Olaudah Equiano is perhaps the most well known of the autobiographies that exist. Using this narrative as a primary source text, authors Monica Edinger and Lesley Younge share Equiano's life story in "found verse," supplemented with annotations to give readers historical context. This poetic approach provides interesting analysis and synthesis, helping readers to better understand the original text. Follow Equiano from his life in Africa as a child to his enslavement at a young age, his travels across the Atlantic Ocean and Mediterranean Sea, his liberation, and his life as a free man.
A Note From the Publisher
This title is also available as a library bound for $38.65 (ISBN: 978-1-7284-5098-8).
Available on NetGalley
Average rating from 8 members
This was emotional and hard to stomach. Some of the things in this book are difficult to comprehend and the level of detail is amazing. The writing captured me from the very beginning too. This was very interesting to read!
I just had to pick this up. It’s children’s non fiction , something that I find comes rarely. Children are always asking questions, in some sense it feels like they themselves are doing that unintentionally. This was great. Highly recommend!
Nothing absolutely nothing grabs the attention of youth to learn about history from a boring text to a translation of the historical text to spoken word and poetic imagination! The device used to insert the youthful reader into the life of Olaudah's personal experiences as a slave who finds himself enslaved helps to propel the reader into the past reality of the horror of enslavement as well as at the same time reflect on the current horrors of the African American experience of different kinds of horrors and enslavement in America today! One cannot read this and not think of the death of George Floyd and others who were also by no fault of their own taken to depths of illegal lockup and death. This book is a way to reflect on the past to look at similar conditions of the present in the lives of African Americans
And see that in time like Olaudah a way to freedom!
I enjoyed this book because of the verse (poem), and after each one, there was a glimpse or a description of history. As an educator, I think it is a great way to keep students engaged in the story. I had heard of Olaudah Equiano and knew some of his stories, but this book has taught me more. Even though it has some difficult subject matter, it can be a learning tool in the classroom for older students.
Nearer My Freedom is a fascinating approach to historical storytelling. I appreciated the use of primary sources and the creativity in presentation found poetry. A story and worthwhile reading experience for young readers, and an ideal mentor text for literacy-focused classrooms.
This is a perfect example of what an adaptation of an older text should be.
Olaudah Equiano had an incredibly fascinating life and later in life he wrote what would become the most successful book in the West written by a Black author-- a book that was quoted for antislavery laws and still studied today. He was kidnapped as a child from Africa and sent on a ship as a slave, but when slavers noticed his interest in nautical instruments, he was sent to be a slave onboard ships in the Royal Navy. While there, he was educated, treated better than a field slave, and saw battles during the 7 years war among many other historical happenings of the late 18th century. He was bought and sold many times, but his education and reputation as a sailor kept him from the sugar plantations. Eventually he was able to buy his freedom, where he returned to England and began work as a spokesperson for the abolitionist movement.
The author of this book took Equiano's autobiography and created blackout poetry with it. So while it's still Equiano's words and experience, it has been creatively crafted into a digestible and interesting format for modern readers. It is sprinkled with relative historical information for slightly more context every few pages. Overall, I think this is a creative, engaging, and informative way to bring this firs-hand account of 18th century slavery to a new audience.
Thank you to netgalley for a free copy in exchange for an honest review!
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