Saturday, April 17, 2010

The Village That Vanished - Ann Grifalconi

Illustrated by Kadir Nelson
Dial Books for Young Readers, 2002
$16.99/paper $6.99
a tale told in the tradition of African storytelling
40 pages
Endpapers: Rust

Abikanile (ah-bee-ka-NEE-lah) and her mother Njemile (n-jeh-MEE-leh) courageously lead the people of their Yao village to safety from the slave traders. Slave traders would attack the surroundings of a village, kidnapping the men and boys working there. This would leave the village attended by women, children, and elders, with no one to protect it so they could swoop in and easily kidnap the rest. HOW ON EARTH COULD PEOPLE DO THIS TO EACH OTHER? Anywasy, this is the story of how the mother figured out how to make it look like there had never been a village, and the daughter figured out how to get across the raging river without a boat when none of them could swim.

A fine tale, an introduction or addition to the concept of the slave trade in Africa.

I did a little research about where the setting of this book might be. Yao or waYao is a major ethnic and linguistic group found at the southern end of Lake Malawi on the eastern coast of Africa. The territory covers parts of modern-day northern Mozambique, Malawi, and Tanzania. They speak a Bantu language. There are currently about two million Yao, most of whom are Islamic.

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