Tag Archives: slavery

The Girl Who Escaped ISIS by Farida Khalaf

The Girl Who Escaped ISIS: This Is My Story by Farida Khalaf with Andrea C. Hoffmann. July 19, 2016. Atria Books, 240 p. ISBN: 9781501131714.  Int Lvl: AD; Rdg Lvl: AD; Lexile: 720.

A young Yazidi woman was living a normal, sheltered life in northern Iraq during the summer of 2014 when her entire world was upended: her village was attacked by ISIS. All of the men in her town were killed and the women were taken into slavery.

This is Farida Khalaf’s story.

In unprecedented detail, Farida describes her world as it was—at nineteen, she was living at home with her brothers and parents, finishing her schooling and looking forward to becoming a math teacher—and the hell it became. Held in a slave market in Syria and sold into the homes of several ISIS soldiers, she stubbornly attempts resistance at every turn. Farida is ultimately brought to an ISIS training camp in the middle of the desert, where she plots an against-all-odds escape for herself and five other girls.

A riveting firsthand account of life in captivity and a courageous flight to freedom, this astonishing memoir is also Farida’s way of bearing witness, and of ensuring that ISIS does not succeed in crushing her spirit. Her bravery, resilience, and hope in the face of unimaginable violence will fascinate and inspire.

Potentially Sensitive Areas: Strong sexual themes; Criminal culture

 

About the Author

Farida Khalaf is from the Yazidi community of the small village of Kocho, Iraq. Farida was nineteen years old and preparing for her last year in school when ISIS descended upon her village, and she was sold into slavery. After making a daring escape, she reunited with her mother and her brothers in an Iraqi refugee camp and was granted asylum in Germany in 2015.

Andrea C. Hoffmann is an author and a journalist. She specializes in the Middle East and the situation of women in Muslim countries. She lives in Berlin, Germany.  Her website is http://andreachoffmann.com.

Teacher Resources

Questions about ISIS

ISIS: Teaching the News Lesson Plans

Around the Web

The Girl Who Escaped ISIS on Amazon

The Girl Who Escaped ISIS on JLG

The Girl Who Escaped ISIS on Goodreads

 

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Kindred: A Graphic Novel Adaptation by Octavia E. Butler

Kindred: A Graphic Novel Adaptation by Octavia E. Butler. January 10, 2017. Harry N. Abrams, 240 p. ISBN: 9781419709470.  Int Lvl: AD; Rdg Lvl: AD.

Octavia E. Butler’s bestselling literary science-fiction masterpiece, Kindred, now in graphic novel format.

More than 35 years after its release, Kindred continues to draw in new readers with its deep exploration of the violence and loss of humanity caused by slavery in the United States, and its complex and lasting impact on the present day. Adapted by celebrated academics and comics artists Damian Duffy and John Jennings, this graphic novel powerfully renders Butler’s mysterious and moving story, which spans racial and gender divides in the antebellum South through the 20th century.

Butler’s most celebrated, critically acclaimed work tells the story of Dana, a young black woman who is suddenly and inexplicably transported from her home in 1970s California to the pre–Civil War South. As she time-travels between worlds, one in which she is a free woman and one where she is part of her own complicated familial history on a southern plantation, she becomes frighteningly entangled in the lives of Rufus, a conflicted white slaveholder and one of Dana’s own ancestors, and the many people who are enslaved by him.

Held up as an essential work in feminist, science-fiction, and fantasy genres, and a cornerstone of the Afrofuturism movement, there are over 500,000 copies of Kindred in print. The intersectionality of race, history, and the treatment of women addressed within the original work remain critical topics in contemporary dialogue, both in the classroom and in the public sphere.

Frightening, compelling, and richly imagined, Kindred offers an unflinching look at our complicated social history, transformed by the graphic novel format into a visually stunning work for a new generation of readers.

Potentially Sensitive Areas: Strong language; Racial taunts; Discrimination; Violence; Strong sexual themes; Sexual assault

 

Book Trailer

Reviews

Booklist (January 1, 2017 (Vol. 113, No. 9))
The grande dame of sci-fi’s 1979 novel is still widely, deservedly popular, and this graphic adaptation will lure in even more readers. Dana is a 1970s black woman repeatedly and involuntarily whisked back in time to a nineteenth-century plantation, where she becomes embroiled in the lives of the people enslaved there, risking everything by educating their children, even as she forms an uneasy and dangerous relationship with her own white ancestor. This adoring adaptation is dense enough to fully immerse readers in the perspective of a modern woman plunged into the thick of a culture where people are dehumanized by the act of dehumanizing others. It also preserves the vivid characterizations of the time traveler, her husband, and the enslaved people and the slaveholders, making the fantastical device that sets the story in motion a springboard for deeply humane insights. The heavily shaded, thick-lined, and rough-edged art lends a grimness appropriate to a life of jagged brutality and fearful uncertainty. Both a rewarding way to reexperience the tale and an accessible way to discover it.

Publishers Weekly (November 7, 2016)
Dana, an African-American woman in the 1970s, is thrust backward in time to a 19th-century Maryland plantation. Over many visits to the past, she realizes that the spoiled son of the plantation owner is her ancestor, destined to father children with a slave, and she must protect his life to ensure her own existence. Butler’s celebrated 1979 novel, here adapted into a graphic novel, starts with a gripping idea and builds skillfully, as both Dana and her white husband in the present are warped by slavery and become complicit in its evil. This graphic novel recaps the classic source material faithfully without adding much to justify the adaptation, although it may find some new readers. The blocky artwork lacks the subtlety to evoke the complexity of the novel or the vividness of its historical settings (in addition to the antebellum South, the adaptation preserves the 1970s setting of the “present-day” sections). It’s an effective recap, clearly produced with great love and respect, but the book remains the gold standard. (Jan.)

About the Author

Octavia Estelle Butler (1947–2006), often referred to as the “grand dame of science fiction,” was born in Pasadena, California, on June 22, 1947. She received an Associate of Arts degree in 1968 from Pasadena City College, and also attended California State University in Los Angeles and the University of California, Los Angeles. Butler was the first science-fiction writer to win a MacArthur Fellowship (“genius” grant). She won the PEN Lifetime Achievement Award and the Nebula and Hugo Awards, among others.

Her website is www.octaviabutler.org.

Teacher Resources

Kindred Reader’s Guide

Kindred Discussion Questions

Kindred Book Kit

Around the Web

Kindred on Amazon

Kindred on JLG

Kindred on Goodreads

 

Shackles from the Deep by Michael Cottman

Shackles from the Deep: Tracing the Path of a Sunken Slave Ship, a Bitter Past, and a Rich Legacy by Michael Cottman. January 3, 2017. National Geographic Children’s Books, 128 p. ISBN: 9781426326646.  Int Lvl: 5-8; Rdg Lvl: 7.4; Lexile: 1160.

A pile of lime-encrusted shackles discovered on the seafloor in the remains of a ship called the Henrietta Marie, lands Michael Cottman, a Washington, D.C.-based journalist and avid scuba diver, in the middle of an amazing journey that stretches across three continents, from foundries and tombs in England, to slave ports on the shores of West Africa, to present-day Caribbean plantations. This is more than just the story of one ship it’s the untold story of millions of people taken as captives to the New World. Told from the author’s perspective, this book introduces young readers to the wonders of diving, detective work, and discovery, while shedding light on the history of slavery.

 

Reviews

Booklist starred (December 1, 2016 (Vol. 113, No. 7))
Grades 6-9. The idea of identity is at the center of this fascinating narrative nonfiction book about the slave ship Henrietta Marie, which sank off the coast of Florida in the early 1700s. Cottman, an African American journalist and scuba diver, was moved to join the investigation of the wreck of the Henrietta Marie thanks to his curiosity about his own ancestry: “Could it have been possible that any of my ancestors had been on this slave ship?” His search takes him to London to research the iron worker who made the shackles discovered in the wreck, some small enough for children; to Barbados, where 188 slaves were purchased at an auction by the same man; and to countries in West Africa to walk the land where those Africans were captured. This truly multidisciplinary volume, an adaptation of his 1999 adult title The Wreck of the Henrietta Marie, engagingly explores a wide scope of topics, including the history of slavery, marine archaeology, and contemporary racial discrimination, culminating in a dive down to the wreck itself. Every bit of this concise, detailed book feels personal, and Cottman’s exploration and investigation of the wreck is rich with intrigue and poignant, thought-provoking questions. Color photographs show artifacts from the Henrietta Marie, and end material includes references and additional reading. Part mystery, part history, part self-discovery, this is a stunning trip well worth taking.

Publishers Weekly (November 14, 2016)
In this accessible and very personal account, Pulitzer Prize-winning journalist and scuba diver Cottman travels to the Caribbean, England, and West Africa as he retraces the route of a sunken slave ship, the Henrietta Marie, whose iron shackles kindle an “emotional journey. I had a deep yearning to know more about the oppressed African people aboard.” Cottman’s angered efforts to understand how the slave trade could be “simply business” drives his quest as he visits the grave of the shackle maker, Gorée Island in Senegal, and a Jamaican banana-packing farm. Cottman’s attunement to his emotional state is never far from the surface: “I knew it was unusual, but I had this strange sense that, whether or not these people were actually distantly related to me, they were my family,” he reports. “In the face of so much despair, cruelty, and sadness, these people and I were all connected because we had survived. Our people had survived.” A timeline, map, color photo insert, index, and additional resources round out this chilling exploration of the slave trade, along with a pitch for the “next generation of young adventure-seekers” to consider scuba diving. Ages 10-up.

About the Author

Cottman has written about politics, social trends, race, and America’s expanding multi-cultural society. He has interviewed and written about some of the world’s most prominent news makers, including President Barack Obama, United States Attorney General Eric Holder; White House Senior Advisor Valerie Jarrett, former South African President Nelson Mandela, the late John F. Kennedy Jr., former New York Mayors Ed Koch, David Dinkins and Rudolph Guliani, and former President Bill Clinton.

His website is www.michaelcottman.com.

Teacher Resources

Shackles from the Deep Educator Guide

Around the Web

Shackles from the Deep on Amazon

Shackles from the Deep on JLG

Shackles from the Deep on Goodreads

 

Ashes by Laurie Halse Anderson

Ashes by Laurie Halse Anderson. October 4, 2016. Atheneum/Caitlyn Dlouhy Books, 304 p. ISBN: 9781416961468.  Int Lvl: 5-8; Rdg Lvl: 5.4; Lexile: 820.

Return to the American Revolution in this blistering conclusion to the trilogy that began with the bestselling National Book Award Finalist Chains and continued with Forge, which The New York Times called “a return not only to the colonial era but to historical accuracy.”

As the Revolutionary War rages on, Isabel and Curzon have narrowly escaped Valley Forge—but their relief is short-lived. Before long they are reported as runaways, and the awful Bellingham is determined to track them down. With purpose and faith, Isabel and Curzon march on, fiercely determined to find Isabel’s little sister Ruth, who is enslaved in a Southern state—where bounty hunters are thick as flies.

Heroism and heartbreak pave their path, but Isabel and Curzon won’t stop until they reach Ruth, and then freedom, in this grand finale to the acclaimed Seeds of America trilogy from Laurie Halse Anderson.

Part of Series: The Seeds of America trilogy (book 3)

Potentially Sensitive Areas: Guns; War; Harsh realities of slavery

 

Book Excerpt

Reviews

Booklist starred (July 2016 (Vol. 112, No. 21))
Grades 7-10. Co-protagonists Isabel and Curzon (Chains, 2008, and Forge, 2010) return in this long-awaited third and final volume in Anderson’s award-winning Seeds of America trilogy. The year is now 1781, and the two teenage fugitives are 12 miles from Charleston, South Carolina, in search of Isabel’s younger sister, Ruth, stolen away from her many years before. To Isabel’s great joy, find her they do, but, inexplicably, Ruth refuses to return Isabel’s affection, remaining cold and distant, even when the three, along with farm-boy Aberdeen, set off to walk to Rhode Island and freedom. Will they reach their destination? Perhaps, but in the meantime, they arrive in Williamsburg, Virginia, where, to Isabel’s great distress, Curzon reenlists in the Continental Army. The action then moves to the siege of Yorktown, even as Isabel and Curzon’s often stormy relationship continues to evolve. But to what end? The plot-rich text makes for compelling reading, and the well-developed characters continue to invite reader empathy. Anderson demonstrates a particular talent for verisimilitude, bringing history to compelling life while she continues to develop her theme of the quest for liberty and the cruel irony that, during a war for freedom, there should remain slavery. Yes, readers, it was worth the wait. HIGH-DEMAND BACKSTORY: Chains and Forge are considered highlights of an author career packed with highlights, and this final installment comes with a book tour, floor displays, and more.

Horn Book Magazine (September/October, 2016)
It’s been five long years since Isabel’s younger sister, Ruth, was stolen away by hated slave owner Madam Lockton (Chains, rev. 11/08), but as Isabel continues her fraught journey south in June 1781 with her companion, Curzon, she remains as determined as ever to find and rescue her sister. On a semi-abandoned South Carolina plantation, they do find Ruth, but she has made a home there and is aloof and even hostile to Isabel. This attitude, coupled with Ruth’s slight mental impairment, makes their continuing escape (as Isabel, Curzon, and Ruth flee the plantation when the white overseer returns) even more perilous. Heading north, they are inexorably drawn toward Yorktown, setting of the climactic battle of the American Revolution. Anderson takes full advantage of unfolding history to weave a plethora of historical detail into the narrative, while her characters confront the relative merits of the American and British positions in relation to the status of African Americans. Isabel comes to realize that “freedom would not be handed to us like a gift. Freedom had to be fought for and taken.” By questioning the fundamental principles upon which this nation was founded, the Seeds of America trilogy does for middle grade readers what M. T. Anderson’s Octavian Nothing books (rev. 9/06 and 9/08) do for young adult readers. And amidst the moral quagmire of colonial-American racial politics, Isabel and Curzon resolve the romantic tension that has simmered throughout the series and forge a hopeful, clear-eyed vision of their shared future.

About the Author

Laurie Halse Anderson is the New York Times-bestselling author who writes for kids of all ages. Known for tackling tough subjects with humor and sensitivity, her work has earned numerous ALA and state awards. Two of her books, Speak and Chains, were National Book Award finalists.

Mother of four and wife of one, Laurie lives outside Philadelphia. Her website is http://madwomanintheforest.com/

Teacher Resources

Slavery and the Revolution Lesson Plans

African Americans in the Revolutionary War Lesson Plan

Why Did Slavery Survive the American Revolution? Lesson Plans

Around the Web

Ashes on Amazon

Ashes on JLG

Ashes on Goodreads