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The People Remember



Balzer + Bray

(pub.9.28.2021) 64 pages

Author: Ibi Zoboi

Illustrator: Loveis Wise

Characters: African descendants in America


"The People Remember tells the journey of African descendants in America by connecting their history to the seven principles of Kwanzaa. It begins in Africa, where people were taken from their homes and families. They spoke different languages and had different customs.

Yet they were bound and chained together and forced onto ships sailing into an unknown future. Ultimately, all these people had to learn one common language and create a culture that combined their memories of home with new traditions that enabled them to thrive in this new land.

Sumptuously illustrated, this is an important book to read as a family—a story young readers can visit over and over again to deepen their understanding of African American history in relation to their own lives and current social justice movements. By turns powerful and revealing, this is a lyrical narrative that tells the story of survival, as well as the many moments of joy, celebration, and innovation of Black people in America." Tantalizing taste:

"In search of freedom,

the Hausa and Fulani, Mende and Fon

found a common language,

a new word for home.

In the land of the free,

hoe of the brave,

if only this new god

was one who saves

the people from the fields

of cotton and sugarcane

under that great big

American sun...

the people remember

they were now

all one.



And something more: Loveis Wise shared in an interview with Publishers Weekly : "I spent lots of time researching by listening to music from my favorite Black musicians (both present and past) to inspire flow. I spoke with the elders in my family to connect their history in the process, and spent time with lots of art/historical photographs/books to help me with grounding ideas. My work and style is usually inspired by joy and playfulness and I wanted to stay authentic to that while also using color shifts to help illustrate the heavy as well as the lighter emotions and tone of the book...I am proud that I was able to work with the energy throughout the book that reminds us of how much our creativity and love thrives no matter how much anguish and pain we experience and have experienced."

I'm so awed by the illustrations Loveis Wise created for our upcoming book: Ablaze with Color - A Story of Painter Alma Thomas.


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