Walking Home to Rosie Lee

A. LaFaye, illus. by Keith D. Shepherd. Cinco Puntos (Consortium, dist.), $16.95 (32p) ISBN 978-1-933693-97-2
Set at the end of the Civil War, this account of a freed slave boy's search for his mother is distinguished by a vivid narrative voice and page-turning suspense. Gabe describes the plans of the freed slaves he meets, but his only desire is to find his mother, Rosie Lee, who made pie so good that birds "flew out of the sky to have them a taste," and who wears a scarf "to hide the scar from being dragged for trying to run free." False hopes and disappointments build momentum before a rewarding conclusion brings mother and son together. Debut illustrator Shepherd contributes big, dramatic spreads, thickly painted and filled with the blues of night and the yellow light of fires and lanterns. In her first picture book, novelist LaFaye (The Keening) offers a vision of a compassionate population of freed slaves who offer food and succor to Gabe, who, in turn, recognizes that he's not the only one suffering: "That night, I slept snuggled up tight with my mama, praying for all those boys like me searching for their mamas who be searching for them." Ages 7–10. (July)
Reviewed on: 06/06/2011
Release date: 08/01/2011
Ebook - 32 pages - 978-1-935955-15-3
Paperback - 32 pages - 978-1-941026-05-2
Paperback - 32 pages - 978-1-941026-57-1
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