Citation: Lester, J. (2005). To be a slave. New York: Puffin Books.
1. What did you like or dislike about the book? I liked the book because it is very unlike any book on this subject.
My students have often wondered aloud what it is like to be a slave—this book truly can answer that question. The reader is able to read, think about, and learn about the lives of countless slaves and ex-slaves, telling about their forced journey from Africa to the United States, their work in the fields and houses of their owners, and their passion for freedom. This book allows the reader to enjoy his or her freedom and look at life in a different way.
2. What in your life may have influenced your reaction or response to this book?
The story would cause any reader to react with gratitude. This book gave me a gratitude for the freedom that I have, which is something that many of us often can take for granted.
3. How would you compare this book to another book or books, or book or books by same author?
This book could be compared to Roll of Thunder, Hear My Cry by Mildred D. Taylor in that it involves an African American family, fighting to stay together in the face of brutal racist attacks, illness, and poverty. Much like Lester’s book, this discusses the hardships that African American families faced in the past. This book also brings to mind, Bud, Not Buddy by Christopher Paul Curtis. In this story, the main character once again faces adversity because of his race during the Depression era.
4. What new thing (information or insight) did you learn about children's literature in reading this book?
This was a unique book in that it gave young readers a true picture into the life of a slave, not just watered-down facts that they read in textbooks. This book also evokes a sense of gratitude for the freedom that we have in America, and pride in the way that America has changed it’s thinking.
Other books written by Julius Lester include the following:
· Lovesong: Becoming A Jew,
· Story of my spiritual odyssey to Judaism, On Writing for Children and Other People,
· A literary memoir discussing the relationship between my life and my writing
· Long Journey Home
· Short stories based on true stories from Black history
· This Strange New Feeling
· Do Lord Remember Me
· And All Our Wounds Forgiven
· Othello: A Novel
· Pharaoh's Daughter: A Novel
· When Dad Killed Mom
· The Autobiography of God
· Day of Tears: A Novel in Dialogue
· Time's Memory
· Cupid: A Novel
· Black Folktales
· The Knee-High Man and Other Tales, Illustrations by Ralph Pinto
· The Tales of Uncle Remus:The Adventures of Brer Rabbit. Illustrations by Jerry Pinkney
· More Tales of Uncle Remus: Further Adventures of Brer Rabbit, His Friends, Enemies, and Others. Illustrations by Jerry Pinkney
· How Many Spots Does A Leopard Have and other Tales. Illustrations by David Shannon
· Further Tales of Uncle Remus: The Misadventures of Brer Rabbit, Brer Fox, Brer Wolf, the Doodang, and Other Creatures. Illustrations by Jerry Pinkney
· The Last Tales of Uncle Remus. Illustrations by Jerry Pinkney
· Uncle Remus: The Complete Tales, with a new introduction. Illustrations by Jerry Pinkney
· When the Beginning Began, illustrated by Emily Lisker
· From Slaveship to Freedom Road, Paintings by Rod Brown
· Let's Talk About Race. Illustrated by Karen Barbour
· Sam and the Tigers, illustrated by Jerry Pinkney
· Black Cowboy, Wild Horses: A True Story. Illustrations by Jerry Pinkney
· What A Truly Cool World, Illustrated by Joe Cepeda
· Albidaro and the Mischievous Dream, Illustrated by Jerry Pinkney
· The Blues Singers: Ten Who Rocked the World. Illustrations by Lisa Cohen
· Ackamarackus: Julius Lester's Sumptuously Silly Fantastically Funny Fables, Illustrated Emilie Chollat
· Why Heaven is Far Away, Illustrations by Joe Cependa
· Shining, Illustrations by John Clapp
· Who I Am, 1974, with David Gahr, photographer