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Children's Literature Reviews
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Now is your time! : the African-American struggle for freedom
Walter Dean Myers.
New York : HarperCollins, c1991.
xi, 292 p. : ill. ; 24 cm.


Includes bibliographical references (p. [278]-281) and index.
A history of the African-American struggle for freedom and equality, beginning with the capture of Africans in 1619, continuing through the American Revolution, the Civil War, and into contemporary times.

Best Books:

50 Multicultural Books Every Child Should Read, 2006 ; Cooperative Children's Book Center; United States
Adventuring with Books: A Booklist for PreK-Grade 6, Tenth Edition, 1993 ; National Council of Teachers of English; United States
Books for You: An Annotated Booklist for Senior High, Twelfth Edition, 1995 ; National Council of Teachers of English; United States
Children's Catalog, Eighteenth Edition, 2001 ; H.W. Wilson; United States
Horn Book Fanfare, 1991 ; Horn Book; United States
Kaleidoscope, A Multicultural Booklist for Grades K-8, 1994 ; National Council of Teachers of English; United States
Kirkus Book Review Stars, 1991 ; United States
Middle And Junior High School Library Catalog, Eighth Edition, 2000 ; H.W. Wilson; United States
Notable Children's Books, 1992 ; Association for Library Service to Children; United States
YALSA Best Books for Youth, 1992 ; American Library Association; United States

Awards, Honors, Prizes:

Carter G. Woodson Book Award, 1992 Outstanding Merit Book Category United States
Coretta Scott King Book Award, 1992 Winner Author United States
Golden Kite Award, 1992 Honor Book Nonfiction United States
Jefferson Cup Award, 1992 Worthy of Special Note Virginia
Orbis Pictus Award for Outstanding Nonfiction for Children, 1992 Honor Book United States

State and Provincial Reading Lists:

MRA Reader's Choice Award, 1997 ; Nominee; Grades 6-8; Michigan

Curriculum Tools:

Link to Coretta Scott King curricular resources at

Reading Measurement Programs:

Accelerated Reader
Interest Level Upper Grade
Book Level 8.3
Accelerated Reader Points 9
Accelerated Vocabulary


Randy Meyer (Booklist, Nov. 1, 1991 (Vol. 88, No. 5))
Slaves, soldiers, inventors, political leaders, and artists. Novelist Myers traces the path of African Americans--some in his own family--through American history, turning in an entertaining work recommended for personal reading and curricular use. Interwoven with his narrative of historical events are brief biographical sketches of influential and ordinary people. Both the strength and the weakness of this book, these vignettes add vital personal information to dry political and military details. But they also halt the flow of Myers' narration, which may prove troublesome for younger readers. Still, Myers is a compelling writer, and his unifying theme of the constant struggle for freedom will be inspirational to many. This is one history book that's easy to booktalk and designed to lead to further reading. To be illustrated with photographs. A bibliography is planned. Category: Older Readers. 1991, HarperCollins, $17.95 and $17.89. Gr. 6-9.

Susie Wilde (Children's Literature)
There are voids in the European accounting of American life, but now African-American voices come forth to correct history. Walter Dean Myers' Now Is Your Time! documents the African-American struggle for freedom through events, people, photographs, documents, and even his personal history. His foreword and afterward are stirring statements of belief. 1991, HarperCollins, $17.89 and $10.95. Ages 10 up.

CCBC (Cooperative Children's Book Center Choices, 1991)
Walter Dean Myers writes "Before you go forward, you must know where you have been." Myers' dynamic rendering of African-American history provides three distinct dimensions for such self-knowledge and progress: a general chronological summary, specific biographical accounts and a striking patchwork of personal ancestry. Throughout his overview of events and conditions of the enslavement of the African peoples, Myers interweaves compelling human stories. "What we understand of our history is what we understand of ourselves," he says, and so he interprets the necessary creation of the African-American extended family and the prevalence of certain means of expression within African-American life. The ringing conclusion challenges readers to think of African-Americans' past and present as those of a people fully deserving of rights and equally blessed with the gifts necessary for success. "I bring as much truth as I know," writes the author. Myers' account of the Plantation Society, his biography of the chief's son Abd al-Rahman Ibrathima, and his interpretation of the contributions of individuals such as Ida B. Wells exemplify the three-fold way this powerful 23-chapter book contributes new information, fresh insight and--ultimately--welcomes hope to all readers. Winner, 1991 CCBC Coretta Scott King Discussion for Writing. CCBC categories: History, People And Places; Biography And Autobiography. 1991, HarperCollins, $17.95 and $10.95. Ages 9 and older.

Kirkus (Kirkus Reviews, 1991)
What happens when a gifted novelist (Scorpions, 1988, Newbery Honor) chooses to write the story of his people? In this case, the result is engrossing history with a strong unifying theme, the narrative enriched with accounts of outstanding lives. With well-chosen specifics and lucid generalizations, Myers recounts the history of African-Americans, skillfully providing a context for longer treatment of events with far-reaching significance (e.g., the involvement of black soldiers in the Civil War or landmark cases like Plessy vs. Ferguson and Brown vs. Board of Education). Most compelling are the interwoven stories of representative African-Americans, bringing the history vividly to life: Ibrahima, unconquerable African prince; James Forten, entrepreneur; George Latimer, a fugitive who won his freedom but ended his life "a deeply troubled man"; Ida B. Wells, journalist; Meta Vaux Warrick, sculptor; and many more. The complex emotions generated by the more recent Civil Rights movement make it difficult to summarize, but even here Myers's entire presentation is dignified, well balanced, and without rancor, reflecting--like many of the lives he depicts--the movement's generous spirit. Speaking as an African-American, Myers concludes with an eloquent homily recalling the noble qualities of the people he has described and reminding readers that we should "be no less than we can be" and that "before you can go forward, you must know where you have been." For Americans of any color, he makes a notably persuasive case for doing both. Bibliography; b&w photos and index not seen. The African-american Struggle For Freedom. 1991, HarperCollins, $17.95; PLB $17.89. Starred Review. © 1991 Kirkus Reviews/VNU eMedia, Inc. All rights reserved.

Publishers Weekly (Publishers Weekly)
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. (Nov.)


African Americans--History Juvenile literature.
African Americans--History.
LanguageCall NumberLCCNDewey DecimalISBN/ISSN
English (eng) E185 .M96 1991
91000314 973/.0496073
0060243708 : $17.95 ($24.50 Can.)
0060243716 (lib bdg.)
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