Nancy Keane's Booktalks -- Quick and Simple
Rinaldi, Ann.
Orlando : Harcourt, 2005, c1996.
IL 5-8, RL 4.8
ISBN 015205393X
Click on the book to read Amazon reviews
Imagine that’s it’s almost 250 years ago. The United States doesn’t exist yet (there are no cars, airplanes, telephones, tvs or Internet). There is a booming slave trade in the Americas. Slavery is legal in the 13 colonies, the West Indies, and Central and South America. Imagine that you live on the west coast of Africa with your family and you have never seen a white person, heard the English language or met a Christian. Your name is Keziah. One day your father accidentally shoots a man from an enemy tribe while he is hunting. The enemy tribe’s chief punishes your father by selling him into slavery. He escapes, but you, your friend Obour and your mother are captured and sold to white slave traders who force you to take a long and terrible journey across the ocean on their ship. Somehow you survive the filthy, crowded and brutal journey across the Atlantic Ocean to Boston. Boston might as well be another planet compared to Africa. The streets seem crowded and wild, the men all wear funny white wigs, and everyone is babbling in a language that makes no sense. By pure chance, a kind family, the Wheatleys, buys you and names you Phillis after the slave ship you arrived on. Keziah is no more. Your life changes very fast as you learn how to fit in to Boston culture. The Wheatleys teach you how to speak English, how to hold a fork, and how to be a Christian. Sometimes Africa feels very far away. The Wheatley’s son, Nathaniel, is ten years older than you are but he becomes your best friend. His twin sister Mary isn’t too crazy about you though and she can be kind of bossy and mean. Even though you are a slave, Nathaniel teaches you to read and write. He doesn’t stop there. He also teaches you Greek, Latin, Shakespeare, and all the great poets. Even though Nathaniel and the Wheatleys treat you very well, you are still a slave and sometimes you miss the life you had in Africa when you were called Keziah. One day, when you are 13, you do something that will change your life forever. You write a poem. Can you believe that a poem can change your life? Find out what happens to Phillis Wheatley as she becomes the first published Black American female poet in Ann Rinaldi’s Hang a Thousand Trees with Ribbons.  (Nomi Krasilovsky, East Providence Public Library, East Providence, RI)
SUBJECTS:     Wheatley, Phillis, 1753-1784 -- Fiction.
                        African Americans -- Fiction.
                        African American women poets -- Fiction.
                        Slaves -- Fiction.
                        Poets -- Fiction.
                        Massachusetts -- History -- Colonial period, ca. 1600-1775 -- Fiction.
                        Historical fiction.
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