January/February 2023 Kids Indie Next List
“We are put in the shoes of school kids learning the painful history of American slavery, and the struggle their teacher faces trying to teach it. This book is necessary. Readers (and educators) will be challenged, but also given hope.”
— Kristin Richland, Phoenix Books Essex, Essex Junction, VT
#1 New York Times Bestselling and award-winning author of The Undefeated, Kwame Alexander, pens a powerful picture book that tells the story of American slavery through the voice of a teacher struggling to help her students understand its harrowing history.
From the fireside tales in an African village, through the unspeakable passage across the Atlantic, to the backbreaking work in the fields of the South, this is a story of a people's struggle and strength, horror and hope. This is the story of American slavery, a story that needs to be told and understood by all of us. A testament to the resilience of the African American community, this book honors what has been and envisions what is to be.
With stunning mixed-media illustrations by newcomer Dare Coulter, this is a potent book for those who want to speak the truth. Perfect for family sharing, the classroom, and homeschooling.
About the Author
Kwame Alexander is a poet, educator, publisher, and New York Times bestselling author of 35 books, including the Caldecott Medal and Newbery Honor-winning picture book The Undefeated, illustrated by Kadir Nelson, the Newbery medal-winning novel, The Crossover (a forthcoming TV series on Disney plus), and Becoming Muhammad Ali, co-authored with James Patterson. He is also a regular contributor to NPR's Morning Edition. He invites you to visit him at kwamealexander.com.
Dare Coulter (she/her) is an award-winning artist, muralist, and sculptor whose primary artistic objective is to create positive imagery of black people and families. She lives in North Carolina but intends to have a global presence by installing sculptures depicting black joy around the world. She invites you to visit her at darecoulter.com and can be found on Instagram and Twitter @darecoulter.
Praise for An American Story
An Indie Next List Pick
*"Beautifully crafted and brutally honest, this offers a thoughtful introduction to a necessary topic."
—Booklist, starred review
*"With powerful art from a bold new talent, this is a probing and sensitive take on a devastating chapter of U.S. history."—Kirkus, starred review
*"Alexander and Coulter have created a powerful counternarrative in their efforts to answer the question, “How do you tell a story about slavery?”—Horn Book, starred review
*"A layered, compassionate telling that considers how to relay difficult truths, and as the art converges into a visual of past and present together, stirring concluding lines suggest a route forward."—Publisher's Weekly, starred review