A poetic nonfiction picture book about a little-known piece of African-American history that demonstrates how New Orleans’ Congo Square was truly freedom’s heart.
Mondays, there were hogs to slop,
mules to train, and logs to chop.
Slavery was no ways fair.
Six more days to Congo Square.
As slaves relentlessly toiled in an unjust system in 19th century Louisiana, they all counted down the days until Sunday, when at least for half a day they were briefly able to congregate in Congo Square in New Orleans. Here they were free to set up an open market, sing, dance, and play music. They were free to forget their cares, their struggles, and their oppression. This story chronicles slaves’ duties each day, from chopping logs on Mondays to baking bread on Wednesdays to plucking hens on Saturday, and builds to the freedom of Sundays and the special experience of an afternoon spent in Congo Square. This book also has a foreword from Freddi Williams Evans, a historian and Congo Square expert, as well as a glossary of terms with pronunciations and definitions.
Download the official Freedom in Congo Square Discussion Guide here!
Praise for Freedom in Congo Square:
2017 Caldecott Honor Book for Illustration
2017 Coretta Scott King Honor Book for Illustration
2017 Charlotte Zolotow Award Winner
NCTE 2017 Notable Poetry Book
The Horn Book: 2016 Fanfare List Inclusion
School Library Journal Best Book of 2016: Nonfiction
Kirkus Reviews Best Book of 2016: Picture Book
The Washington Post Best Book of 2016: Nonfiction
**A JUNIOR LIBRARY GUILD SELECTION FOR JANUARY 2016**
“Unique in its subject and artistic expression, this beautiful book belongs in most collections.”—School Library Journal, starred review
“The poetry is powerful and evocative, providing a strong and emotional window into the world of the slave. Christie’s full-bleed paintings are a moving accompaniment . . . Weatherford and Christie dazzlingly salute African-Americans’ drive to preserve their dignity and pride.”—Kirkus Reviews, starred review
“Coretta Scott King Honorees Weatherford and Christie have created a gorgeously artistic and poetic homage to the birthplace of jazz and a people whose legacy is too often ignored . . . Subtle and layered, this is an important story beautifully told.”—Booklist, starred review
“Strong acrylic paintings that echo the best of Outsider Art illuminate the equally strong text. Freedom in Congo Square is nothing short of stunning.”—Tomie dePaola (Strega Nona)