Circle Unbroken

Paperback | December 26, 2007

byMargot Theis RavenIllustratorE. B. Lewis

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As she teaches her granddaughter to sew a traditional sweetgrass basket, a grandmother weaves a story, going back generations to her grandfather's village in faraway Africa. There, as a boy, he learned to make baskets so tightly woven they could hold the rain. Even after being stolen away to a slave ship bound for America, he remembers what he learned and passes these memories on to his children - as they do theirs.

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From the Publisher

As she teaches her granddaughter to sew a traditional sweetgrass basket, a grandmother weaves a story, going back generations to her grandfather's village in faraway Africa. There, as a boy, he learned to make baskets so tightly woven they could hold the rain. Even after being stolen away to a slave ship bound for America, he remembers...

Margot Raven and E. B. Lewis collaborated on Circle Unbroken, a Booklist Top 10 Black History Book for Youth. Their most recent picture book was Night Boat to Freedom, published by FSG in 2006. The author lives in Charleston, South Carolina. The artist, a Caldecott Honor Medalist for Coming on Home Soon, lives in Folsom, New Jersey.

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Format:PaperbackDimensions:48 pages, 10.29 × 9.01 × 0.2 inPublished:December 26, 2007Publisher:Square FishLanguage:English

The following ISBNs are associated with this title:

ISBN - 10:0312376030

ISBN - 13:9780312376031

Appropriate for ages: 9 - 12

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Bookclub Guide

In Margot Theis Raven's Circle Unbroken: The Story of a Basket and Its People, a grandmother shares family stories with her granddaughter while demonstrating the techniques of making the famous Gullah coiled basket. In West Africa, Grandmother's "old-timey" grandfather lived on the riverbanks near rice fields where he learned the art of weaving baskets. When grandfather was captured and transported to South Carolina as a slave, he continued sewing baskets in the traditional way. Today, tourists to the Sea Islands in South Carolina can buy baskets woven by descendants of slaves brought to America. An author's note provides excellent details about the history of the sweetgrass "coil" or Gullah basket, its history on Africa's West Coast, and its journey to the Lowcountry of South Carolina and Georgia.

Editorial Reviews

"Gracefully constructed...as intricate as the baskets and the history to which it pays tribute." -Publishers Weekly, Starred Review"Clear poetic words and exquisite watercolor illustrations depict how the small circular basket holds the big circle of African-American history....Lewis' astonishing pictures combine the panoramas of upheaval and war with portraits of individuals in small circles weaving and passing on their heritage in craft and story." -Booklist, Starred Review"Raven's text masterfully frames several hundred years of African-American history within the picture-book format. Lewis's double-page watercolor images are poignant and perfectly matched to the text and mood." -School Library Journal"In solemn Gullah cadences, an old woman passes on to a grandchild centuries of history embodied in the Sea Islands' distinctive sweetgrass baskets...Powerfully evoking the passage of successive generations linked by the ancient skill." -Kirkus Reviews