Sarah's Stars

Afua Cooper. My Name Is Henry Bibb
KCP Fiction $16.95 ISBN 978-1-55337-813-6 160 pg.
Reviewed by Koryn, Age 12

The song had a mournful air even though the people sang it with powerful voices. I knew the song well but had never really paid attention to the words. Now, as the people sang, I heard “I’m going away to Canada” as if for the first time. The words went around in my head. But what is Canada? It must be a place, but where? I knew of Tennessee, Ohio, Indiana and such, but I did not know of that place. I asked David, but he did not know either.

Henry Bibb was born into slavery. His father was a white man, but his mother a slave. Henry’s father never claimed him. As Henry grows up a slave, he learns to read and write, risking severe punishment if caught. Henry learns of freedom and slavery, and as he grows older, he challenges authority and runs away on multiple occasions. Can Henry defy the slave traders and gain his freedom?

Afua Cooper is also the author of My Name Is Phillis Wheatley. If you like the story My Name Is Henry Bibb, you will also enjoy My Name Is Phillis Wheatley. Afua Cooper has also published five volumes of poetry.

My Name Is Henry Bibb is a sad and intriguing book about a boy who defied slavery and helped to change the world of slavery as we know it. The book is exciting and interesting, showing the life of a boy sold before he was born. The characters are real and some are likeable and some not so likeable, showing the innocent and the terrible sides of humankind. My Name Is Henry Bibb is an excellent addition to literature, showing a past we never want to repeat. Some of the content was very sad. My Name Is Henry Bibb grabbed me and pulled me in from the very start and kept me reading until the very last page. An awesome read!

I give My Name Is Henry Bibb four stars.

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