The first is a beautiful and deeply moving children's book by Kim Siegelson: In the Time of the Drums.
You can find out more about Kim Seigelson here: Georgia Center for the Book.
The wonderful illustrations are by Brian Pinkney, who is the son of Jerry Pinkney. (You might remember him from an earlier post: he did the illustrations for McKissack's The Dark Thirty!)
As the author explains in a note after the story, this is a Gullah legend told throughout the Sea Islands off the South Carolina and Georgia coast. I don't want to give away too much, but if you know the legend of the flying Africans (see Virginia Hamilton's The People Could Fly), you will see this as a kindred story.
The other book I want to share today is not folklore, but actual history, an amazing investigation into the life of John Kizell: The African American Odyssey of John Kizell: A South Carolina Slave Returns to Fight the Slave Trade in His African Homeland by Kevin Lowther.
Doesn't that subtitle make you want to read the book? It is a remarkable real-life story; you can also read about John Kizell at Wikipedia. By chance I met Kevin Lowther's brother this week, and he told me about the book; I am so grateful for that chance meeting! If you are interested in American or African history (or even Canadian history!), the history of slavery and of the fight against slavery, and also the history of Gullah culture in South Carolina, then this is a book for you. To find out more about Kevin Lowther and the historical research that made this book possible, here's a podcast to listen to: Research at the National Archives.
And now I have to say: it feels GREAT to be writing about books again every day here after a week off, and, yes, there will eventually be a Reader's Guide to African Diaspora Folktales at the Internet Archive, a follow-up to the African folktales book too. But I've got a lot of blogging to do before I get there. :-)
by Kim Siegelson
by Kevin Lowther