cover image Nearer My Freedom: The Interesting Life of Olaudah Equiano by Himself

Nearer My Freedom: The Interesting Life of Olaudah Equiano by Himself

Monica Edinger and Lesley Younge. Zest, $17.99 paper (216p) ISBN 978-1-7284-6407-7

Using the historic autobiography The Interesting Narrative of the Life of Olaudah Equiano, or Gustavus Vassa, the African, Written by Himself as this book’s source material, educators Edinger (Africa Is My Home) and Younge, a debut author, craft a moving found-verse narrative that draws from the subject’s life to deliver an expansive and textured telling. In this significant adaptation, the authors mirror Equiano’s chronological trajectory to outline his early life “in that part of Guinea, Africa... where trade for slaves is carried on”; his time as an enslaved person, during which he “determined to seize the first opportunity/ of making my escape”; and his later occupation as a free abolitionist. According to an introduction, the creators reorganized “a selection of words, phrases, and sentences” from Equiano’s text into new and succinct passages, providing an effective and unusual through line to the original. Brief sidebars throughout offer historical context, ensuring that readers grasp the gravity of the subject’s experiences. Without losing the source text’s emotional heft, Edinger and Younge’s visceral poems respectfully provide an effective entry point into the seminal work. A timeline, glossary, and extensive notes conclude. Ages 10–up. Agent: Stephen Barbara, InkWell Management. (Mar.)