Review of Kin: Rooted in Hope

Kin: Rooted in Hope Kin: Rooted in Hope
by Carole Boston Weatherford; illus. by Jeffery Boston Weatherford
Intermediate, Middle School    Atheneum    208 pp.
9/23    9781665913621    $18.99
e-book ed.  9781665913645    $10.99

From a single photograph and sparse information to a fully realized lineage of excellence, an African American author, with dramatic illustrations by her son, traces their family’s roots. Carole Boston Weatherford (Standing in the Need of Prayer, rev. 9/22) deftly weaves a myriad of locations, entities, and mindsets into her imaginative and moving chronicle. Personification poems introduce various locations she visited, such as the Chesapeake Bay (“Surely as I spill into the Atlantic, the current / of greed swept me into the triangular trade”) and Wye House plantation in Maryland (“I witness more cruelty than I care to recall / the sin of slavery haunts my every hall”). Most powerful are the poems that give her ancestors a voice. From brief mentions in enslavers’ ledgers and other historical documents, Weatherford gives life to kin such as “Nanny / Nancy / Nan Copper, House Servant (born c. 1763)” and Isaac Copper, an elder who taught younger enslaved people Bible verses—among them, Frederick Douglass. Jeffery Boston Weatherford’s (illustrator of Call Me Miss Hamilton, rev. 3/22) scratchboard and digital black-and-white renderings match the poems’ intensity, with the compositions’ points of view being as dynamic and varied as the styles of verse. Fans of Bryan’s Freedom over Me (rev. 11/16) and Nelson’s Heart and Soul (rev. 11/11) will appreciate this extensively researched and deeply felt genealogical exploration. Appended with an author’s note, an illustrator’s note (unseen), and a comprehensive bibliography.

From the September/October 2023 issue of The Horn Book Magazine.

Eboni Njoku
Eboni Njoku is a children’s librarian at the Anacostia Neighborhood Library Branch of the DC Public Library.

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