cover image Kin: Rooted in Hope

Kin: Rooted in Hope

Carole Boston Weatherford, illus. by Jeffery Boston Weatherford. Atheneum, $18.99 (208p) ISBN 978-1-6659-1362-1

The Weatherfords—a mother-son duo—pay tribute to their enslaved ancestors’ pain and resilience across generations in this moving collection of illustrated poems, inspired by Alex Haley’s Roots. Hoping to learn more about her family history, the author attempts to trace her lineage to its beginnings. In 2016, while traveling to Gorée, an island off the coast of Dakar, Senegal, Weatherford and her son visit “slave castles”—trading posts where “captive Africans/ were held for weeks, months,/ until their numbers could fill/ a ship’s belly.” From there, the two embark on a journey that takes them to the Wye House Plantation in Easton, Md., where their ancestors were enslaved by the Lloyds, a white family. Throughout, poems showcase various perspectives, including those of the creators’ forebears, the enslaving family, and a ship carrying captives. While this narrative range can sometimes cause confusion, it nevertheless makes for a layered text that highlights the perseverance of the Weatherfords’ ancestors and the horrors that they endured. Sketch-like b&w line illustrations depict key moments within the narrative. By sharing their family’s story, the Weatherfords craft a harrowing and motivational addition to enslaved peoples’ history. Ages 10–up. (Sept.)

Correction: The text of this review has been updated for clarity.