cover image Under the Same Sun

Under the Same Sun

Sharon Robinson, illus. by AG Ford. Scholastic Press, $17.99 (40p) ISBN 978-0-545-16672-0

A Tanzanian family welcomes their Auntie Sharon and Grandmother Bibi from America for a very special occasion: a surprise safari in honor of the matriarch’s 85th birthday. After three days of marveling at the sights and sounds of the Serengeti, Father—Auntie Sharon’s brother—takes the group to the coastal town of Bagamoyo (Swahili for “to let go of one’s heart”) and tells its sad history as a slave-trading post. “[W]e are much more fortunate than our African ancestors who were forced to leave the country that they loved and had no chance of retuning,” Father says. “We are blessed with the freedom to move back and forth.” Robinson (Jackie’s Gift), the daughter of baseball legend Jackie Robinson, bases this book on family history and a family trip, and while her tale isn’t particularly dramatic, her pride in her family’s resilience shines through. Ford’s (Barack) acrylics don’t add much emotional depth despite their detail and rich palette, but he brings a matter-of-fact approach to a distant landscape that underscores how a close family can transcend geography. Ages 4–8. Illustrator’s agent: Steven Malk, Writers House. (Jan.)