Hurray! The first Perfect Picture Book Friday post of 2019! This year is shaping up to be a wild rollercoaster of adventure for me. So it made sense to review a book about a group of pioneers who also experienced a challenging journey. Oh, by the way, did I mention these pioneers were African Americans? The book is fiction, but based on true events – the story of the town of Nicodemus, Kansas, where, in 1877, former slaves could purchase a large tract of prairie land for $5…all they had to do was chop down trees to build their homes, hunt animals to provide food for their families, plow the hardscrabble ground to plant crops, and survive the harsh winters, frozen rivers, and lack of supportive neighboring towns.
FOLLOW ME DOWN TO NICODEMUS TOWN
Written by Alexandria LaFaye
Illustrated by Nicole Tadgell
Published by Albert Whitman and Company (January 1, 2019)
From Amazon: When Dede sees a notice offering land to black people in Kansas, her family decides to give up their life of sharecropping to become homesteading pioneers in the Midwest. Inspired by the true story of Nicodemus, Kansas, a town founded in the late 1870s by Exodusters—former slaves leaving the Jim Crow South in search of a new beginning—this fictional story follows Dede and her parents as they set out to stake and secure a claim, finally allowing them to have a home to call their own.
Why I love this book:
- The topic! How many of you knew that there were African American pioneers? I definitely didn’t…that info wasn’t in any of the history books I ever studied…and not in any of the TV shows or movies from years ago that depicted the settling of the American West. This book is a treasure chest of golden nuggets of history.
- The words! Lyrical, conveying the longing of Dede and her family to own their own home and be masters of their own destiny. This is a book that is appropriate for all ages, children and adults alike.
- The illustrations! I fell in love with the cover…and inside, the story comes alive on each page. Beautiful palette…and here is an artist who knows how to depict joy, sorrow, longing, excitement, satisfaction on the faces of her characters.
Make a Covered Wagon
For detailed instructions on this and other fun pioneer crafts: https://www.thecraftycrow.net/2011/09/pioneer-crafts-for-kids.html
For more information about the Exodusters, former slaves turned pioneers: https://www.hcn.org/issues/50.1/a-civil-conversation-what-we-can-learn-from-nicodemus-kansas
And for more wonderful picture book reviews and activities for kids, please head over to Susanna Hill’s Perfect Picture Book Friday linky.
Don’t forget to leave a comment to be entered into the giveaway for a chance to win a copy of this amazing book. Plus, please come back tomorrow when author LaFaye stops by to chat. You will not want to miss that!!!