Never Forgotten by Patricia C. McKissack ; artwork by Leo & Diane Dillon
Random House, 2011
Format: Picture Book
Genre: Historical fiction, Novels in verse
What did you like about the book?
Never Forgotten presents a unique point of view about a world-changing historical event presented in compelling, powerful free verse. It challenges readers to expand their horizons. It contains gripping written imagery and equally dynamic illustrations. The message is ultimately hopeful.
What didn’t you like about the book?
This is not a book that most children would pick up on their own to read. Though it is a picture book, it requires background knowledge for them to truly understand it because of the unfamiliar wind characters, the magical imagery, and the vocabulary. For instance, the first poem is “The Griot’s Prelude”, and there is no indication in the book that a griot is a West African storyteller. It would help also to have pronunciation guides for words that will be foreign to most readers. That said, it is well worth an investment of time.
To whom would you recommend this book? (Read-alikes if you can think of them)
To young people motivated to better understand the African slave experience, to social studies teachers to show the impact of the slave in Africa, and to English teachers for the beauty of the paired verse and illustrations.
Read-alikes: Middle Passage
Who should buy this book? (Middle schools, high schools, small libraries, all libraries, etc.)
Highly recommended for all libraries that serve young people.
Where would you shelve it and why?
With the poetry books.
Should we (librarians) put this on the top of our “to read” piles?
Reviewer’s Name, Library (or school), City: Mary Melaugh / Marshall Middle School / Billerica, MA
Date of review: 1/21/12
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