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Beauty, Her Basket Hardcover – December 23, 2003
"Children of Blood and Bone"
Tomi Adeyemi conjures a stunning world of dark magic and danger in her West African-inspired fantasy debut. Learn more
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From School Library Journal
Grade 1-4–Inside Nana's house in the Sea Islands is a basket that smells of the sea and is woven from grasses that grow by the shore. Nana calls it "Beauty, Her Basket." Her granddaughter, intrigued by this curious name, wants to know its origin, and, on the day this story takes place, Nana has promised to tell her. She explains how "Way back in the olden day" those "made to slave" brought with them from Africa the secrets of how to make nets for catching fish, pots for carrying water from the sea, and "the knowing of how to make the basket." And, although so much was ugly in the slave times, the basket, like flowers, is "always a child of beauty." Nana's Gullah patois and the serious subject matter make this a somewhat challenging book. Full-bleed illustrations in darkly brilliant acrylics float and swirl across the page, complementing the lush, evocative tone of the text. Libraries with a focus on regional literature will want to purchase this one.–Anna DeWind Walls, Milwaukee Public Library
Copyright © Reed Business Information, a division of Reed Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved.
Gr. 1-4. Set in the Sea Islands off the coast of Georgia, this follows a young girl into a world whose rhythms are planted in history. The unnamed young narrator is visiting her nana for the summer. She takes in the seascape and the patois rolling lyrically from Nana's tongue, but she is especially intrigued by the grass baskets crafted by the island people. By example and through anecdote, she learns about the African origins of the basketry, along with the skilled rice farming and fishing that slaves brought with them to America. Through these lessons, she comes to appreciate the beauty of her heritage, both past and present. As with Pictures for Miss Josie (2003) and From Miss Ida's Porch (1993), Belton once again uses a narrative tale to illuminate priceless nuggets of African American history. Dark, sometime dreamy pastels evoke the island setting and the warm, loving family backdrop. Pair this with Margot Theis Raven's Circle Unbroken [BKL F 15 04], also about the tradition of basket crafting. Terry Glover
Copyright © American Library Association. All rights reserved
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In the story, a young girl (never named) shares the landscape and beauty of the stories shared with her grandmother and cousin Victor. The plot centers around basketry and its African origins as well as other skills such as fishing and rice farming which slaves brought to America from Africa.
Though I loved the lessons taught in the story and how it teaches children to appreciate their ancestry and the beauty around them, I simply didn't "get" the title of the book, even after reading it three times. Because of this, I couldn't totally enjoy it and spent a lot of time trying to figure out if Beauty, Her Basket was the name of the basket since the others mentioned in the book were also called the same thing. Perhaps, it's in a native patios/dialect that I just didn't understand? I'm not sure, but I think children will have a problem understanding the correlation between the title, basket, and the story, but in spite of that, will be delighted with the art work.
Reviewed by Tee C. Royal
of The RAWSISTAZ Reviewers