Brave Music of a Distant Drum by Manu Herbstein Published by Red Deer Press, Canada and Techmate, Ghana
From the back cover:
Ama is a slave. She is old and dying and has an incredible story to tell. It is about violence and heartache, but it is also a story of courage, hope, determination, and ultimately, love. Since Ama is blind, she cannot write down her story for future generations. Instead, she summons the son from whom she has been long separated. At first he thinks she's old and tiresome. But as Ama's astonishing journey unfolds in her own words, his world changes forever, until he can never see it with the same eyes again.
Nor will those who read Ama's story.
Red Deer Press holds world rights except for Africa. Techmate holds Ghana print rights.
Keilin Huang May 2012 at www.papertigers.org There are some stories that touch you and some that change you. This is what Kwame Zumbi discovers after a visit with his blind mother. Initially turned off by her physical condition and what Kwame sees as a sinful lifestyle, . . . he eventually learns of a past that he has long forgotten and indeed that he has chosen to forget. Ama has a story to tell, one that “lies within me, kicking like a child in the womb” and she summons her son, Kwame, to write it down as she dictates to him. Kwame is impatient with Ama and finds her “old and blind…unwell and…ugly,” but as her story unfolds, he realizes just how amazing her journey has been. From Ama’s comfortable beginnings in her hometown to her relationship with a Dutch governor that brought her across foreign waters to the hardships she faced while on the English slave ship, The Love of Liberty, Kwame learns not only about his earlier life, but ultimately just how powerful and influential his mother’s story can be. Eventually, the reader realizes that Kwame has been the “blind” one and only when Ama comes to the end of her story does he realize the true strength of family. Brave Music of a Distant Drum is an amazing story that gives a deep, and sometimes difficult, account of the slave trade. It’s not an understatement to say that Herbstein’s tale is a vital part of history and a key to understanding cross-cultural relations today.
Betty Kowall, Waterloo Region Record, February 18. 2012. Manu Herbstein has written an incredible story. . . This is a beautifully written, thought-provoking book about some age-old questions involving man’s inhumanity to man.
Linda Quirk, The Deakin Review of Children’s Literature This is a powerful and thought-provoking novel, which offers remarkable insights into one of the darkest chapters in human history.
Rita Soltan, MI School Library Journal An insightful and, at times, heartbreaking read.
Margaret Mackey, Resource Links. Good, even great at times, generally useful! . . . this book tells an important story, one that we would all do well to know more about. Librarians should read this troubling book before putting it on their shelves, because readers may well have questions - indeed, they should have questions.
Hope Morrison, Bulletin of the Center for Children’s Books. This is a complex and carefully developed examination of the transatlantic slave trade as seen through the lens of one woman's experience, and young people who may not have considered slavery's impact on the New World outside of North America will have their eyes opened.
Christina Lewis www.kidsbookshelf.com A heart wrenching story that will really make you think about life.