Freedom in Congo Square

Freedom in Congo Square

by Carole Boston Weatherford
Hardcover, 40 pages
Price: $17.99
Mondays, there were hogs to slop, mules to train, and logs to chop. Slavery was no ways fair. Six more days to Congo Square.

Slaves worked six days a week, but in Louisiana they had one day of rest, and one place that they could gather on that day: Congo Square. Here in Congo Square they could be free for a few hours. Markets flourished, drums beat, music came alive. Out of this gathering of freedom grew the inspiration for America's only original music genre: jazz.

The vibrant, innovative illustrations are what snagged this book the Caldecott medal. The sparse story is told in a rhyming sing-song verse style, that doesn't always work. But the countdown to Congo square makes for a great tension, and a good discussion point about the hardships of slavery when reading this book to children.

Review by Lauren Shearer
Lauren Shearer writes words for fun and profit. She also makes films, but everyone knows you can't make a profit doing that. Her other hobby is consistently volunteering way too much of her time. You can read more of her reviews here.
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Exodus Rating:
FLAWS: clunky rhymes, depictions of whips and dogs may affect sensitive children
Summary: Slaves toil all week, waiting for the chance to be free for a few hours in Congo Square.

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