From School Library Journal
Gr 4-8–The events surrounding the abduction, mutiny, and legal trials of the Amistad Africans have been retold in a number of books, but few are told from the point of view of the children on the ship. In this novel based on the experiences of a real person, nine-year-old Magulu sails for seven weeks to Cuba on a slave ship. After being sold, she boards the Amistad. A rebellion leads to fighting and eventual jail time and several trials. Now 12 years old, she and the other children are finally declared free and allowed to return home. How she earns her passage and an education are part of this remarkable story of resilience, faith, and hope. Byrd's ink and watercolor illustrations show lush green areas of West Africa; as Magulu travels, the colors darken until she is returned to Africa. Highly detailed illustrations contrast life and dress in Africa with those in Cuba and Connecticut. The maps and recurring dream scenes are lovely and intriguing. Interspersed throughout the book are primary-image sources. Edinger gives Magulu a voice of her own as she narrates her story. The child's character is fleshed out as readers watch her grow from age nine when she is pawned during a drought to adulthood when she becomes a teacher in her beloved homeland. With more than 40 stunning illustrations, this unique narrative should find an appreciative audience.–Glynis Jean Wray, Ocean County Library, Toms River, NJα(c) Copyright 2013. Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.
This fictionalized version of a true account gives readers a look into a neglected piece of history: the story of the Amistad told from a child’s point of view. We are introduced to 9-year-old Magulu, who is sold into slavery and ends up a passenger on the slave ship Amistad. After a mutiny, Magulu finds herself in New England with three other child passengers, where their freedom is fought over all the way to the Supreme Court. Meanwhile, Magulu spends time going to school, learning English, and meeting supporters who fight for her right to return to Africa. Edinger fills her novel with facts, research, and rich historical details. The storybooklike narrative of a child torn between two worlds is captivating, and Byrd’s finely lined color illustrations add to the story, as do reproductions of historical documents. An author’s note gives readers additional information and the inspiration as to where Edinger found her source material. Grades 3-6. --Sarah Bean Thompson