Little Bee Books ISBN 9781499801033
PRI Grades 1-5 Rating: 5
Freedom in Congo Square is both a Caldecott Honor Book and a Coretta Scott King Honor Book, each of these awards being very well-deserved for the unique artwork and the telling of the story of an enslaved people in New Orleans.
This is a little-known account of slaves in Louisiana whose weeks were spent toiling relentlessly yet counting down the days until Sunday when they could spend a half day in Congo Square holding a market, visiting with friends, and singing and dancing–in other words, experiencing a brief respite from their difficult lives.
Authors Carol Boston Weatherford and R. Gregory Christie have done a superb job of putting readers right in the middle of slave life and allowing them to experience, in a small way, what these New Orleans slaves’ lives were like.
The Forward and the author’s note both provide much interesting background information, and a glossary gives understanding to the vernacular and difficult words. But the artwork and the poetic form of writing are what will long stay with the reader, both child and adult.
Freedom in Congo Square is highly recommended for school and public libraries.