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Now Is Your Time

by Walter Dean Myers


Publishers Weekly :

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Combining the emotional and plot-weaving powers of his novelist talents with a strong author's presence, Myers portrays the quests of individual Africans against the background of broader historical movements. Instead of a comprehensive, strict chronology, Myers offers, through freed slave Ibrahima, investigative reporter Ida Wells, artist Meta Warrick Fuller, inventor George Latimore, artist Dred Scott, the 54th Massachusetts Regiment and others, history at its best--along with deeper understanding of past and contemporary events. Readers will grasp reasons behind incidents ranging from bewildering Supreme Court decisions to the historical need for the black extended family. Intriguing and rousing. Photos not seen by PW. Ages 11-up.

Copyright 1991 Cahners Business Information, Inc.
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School Library Journal :

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Gr 6 Up-- An attractive, interestingly written book that combines biographical vignettes with narrative history. By highlighting several generations of specific families, Myers eloquently conveys how they were present at, and participated in, the events that formed our nation. His chapter, ``To Be a Slave' is full of fascinating and moving primary-source materials that are thoughtfully analyzed. Complex subjects like the meaning of the Constitutional Convention and the Dred Scott case are made comprehensible. Yet, interspersing biographies within the narrative creates confusing transitions. Also, the sense of time and historical development is in some cases lost, as in the chapter in which the pre-Revolution colonists' ways of establishing a slave labor system are illustrated with quotations from the 1840s and 1850s. Focus and historical significance are not always clear. For instance, through the 1920s the most famous African-Americans are bypassed in favor of vignettes of courageous lesser-known people; in the final two chapters people of this sort disappear, with the emphasis shifting to prominent leaders of the 1950s and '60s. Have the criteria for who is ``important' changed? The ``Author's Note' and the ``Select Bibliography' provide some mention of where Myers obtained the information, but the text isn't fully documented. Some quotations cite no sources. It appears that thoughts and feelings are fictionalized in the biographies, but this is not mentioned in the note. What this book does in connecting a wide variety of African-Americans with their time in American history is unique. Despite its limitations, it should have a wide audience. But histories for young readers that adequately reflect the excellent research of recent years on the African-American experience are yet to come. --Loretta Kreider Andrews, Enoch Pratt Free Library, Baltimore

Copyright 1992 Cahners Business Information, Inc.
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