cover image Do You Know Them? Families Lost and Found After the Civil War

Do You Know Them? Families Lost and Found After the Civil War

Shana Keller, illus. by Laura Freeman. Atheneum, $18.99 (40p) ISBN 978-1-66591-307-2

A Black girl looks for her family via newspaper ads following the Civil War’s end in Keller’s heartwarming fictionalized account, which features reprints of authentic historical ads. Lettie, whose family “had been sold and lost long before enslavement was abolished,” saves the pennies she makes sewing and sweeping to place an advertisement seeking information about them. Until she can save the necessary 50¢ for her own ad in the Richmond Planet, Lettie pores over the newspaper with her uncle Charlie and reads aloud to her church congregation. When a Salt Lake City man posts a notice about having found his father via the paper, Lettie feels hope, and her patient saving and slow wait eventually yield an exciting reply for her and for Uncle Charlie. Alongside images of one-cent pieces, Freeman’s digital illustrations employ light and shadow in textural portraits that move between past and present in this intriguing reflection on the Civil War’s aftermath. An author’s note concludes. Ages 4–8. (Jan.)