Never Forgotten (Junior Library Guild Selection)

by Patricia C. McKissack

Hardcover, 2011





Schwartz & Wade (2011), Edition: First Edition, 48 pages


In eighteenth-century West Africa, a boy raised by his blacksmith father and the Mother Elements--Wind, Fire, Water, and Earth--is captured and taken to America as a slave.

User reviews

LibraryThing member Sullywriter
A stunning, profoundly moving collaboration between a superb writer and two amazingly gifted artists.
LibraryThing member alyson
Powerful story about a African boy captured by the slave trade. Beautiful illustrations by the Dillons. You better have some tissues ready when you read this.
LibraryThing member alf275
Title: Never Forgotten

Author: Patricia C. McKissack

Illustrator: Leo & Diane Dillon

Publisher: Schwartz & Wade

Publication Date: October 11, 2011

Genre: Folklore

Plot Summary:
Dinga, the blacksmith, and his wife have a son, but during labor the wife dies. People do not think Dinga can raise his son on his own, but he is not alone. He has the mother elements to help him. Each mother element blesses his son and they decide on the name Musafa. As Musafa grows he has a great relationship with all of the mother elements, especially wind. He becomes his father’s apprentice and creates beautiful, useless at the time, things. Dinga knows there is war going on between his home and white men, but he is not as cautious as he should be. He sends his son out to gather wood and his son never returns. He learns that his son has been taken captive, but that Musafa is strong and, unlike most of the slaves, refuses to die. After years of waiting for more news Dinga finds out that his son is a blacksmith apprentice in Charleston, SC, and that Musafa remembers his past. Dinga finds happiness in this news. He announces to all that his son is safe and happy, but no one truly believes him. The people think he has gone mad in losing his son, but refuse to take away his happiness.

Character Analysis:
• Blacksmith
• Loving father
• Can communicate with the Mother elements
• Son of Dinga
• blacksmith apprentice
• creates beautiful things
• Strong and stubborn
Mother elements: Earth, Fire, Water, and Wind
• All love Musafa and would do whatever possible to protect him

Genre: Folklore

Personal Evaluation:
This book gave a very different view on slavery. It didn’t just give you facts, but told a personal story. This made me connect to the victims and families of people that were enslaved. The illustrations gave it a real feeling of authentication. It felt like I was sitting around a campfire, being told old stories about the past, kind of how they do in cartoons. They will have very primitive drawings when it is a recall of something that happened long long ago.
… (more)
LibraryThing member ReplayGuy
Never Forgotten is a beautifully illustrated story of the slave trade and of family. The story centers around a boy who is stolen by slave traders and taken to America and a father in Africa searching for him. With the help of Earth, Fire, Water, and Wind, the father learns his son has been taken to Charleston, South Carolina, and works as a blacksmith--just like his father in Africa. McKissack craft fully weaves myths into the telling of the story; for instance, describing hurricanes as "Mother Africa in search of her lost children." Perhaps the best part of this book are the amazing illustrations of Leo and Diane Dillon.… (more)
LibraryThing member Nzingha
inspiring and awesome!
LibraryThing member darlingdumpling
Absolutely beautiful illustrations, unique prose, inclusion of cultural traditions and values and native language.
LibraryThing member rwilliamson
Despite its picture book format this is a book that can be used from upper elementary through high school. In the author’s note Mrs. McKissack tells of her curiosity about how African literature and music portrayed those who were taken into slavery. This beautiful book is based on a legend she heard in Barbados that a hurricane was Mother Africa in search of her children. Never Forgotten uses verse to tell the story of Dinga the blacksmith whose beloved son Musafa is stolen. Dinga relies on the Four Elements who have helped raise Musafa to find the lost boy. Ultimately Wind reports that Musafa is now a successful blacksmith in Charleston, South Carolina. Never Forgotten is a novel-in-verse it must be read aloud. The woodcut style illustrations in gentle colors by Leo and Diane Dillon combine full page illustrations, with borders across the top or down the side of the page. I will definitely share this book the our drama teacher.… (more)
LibraryThing member sbutler9
This story is one about slavery. It is written in prose as a series of poems all telling a story. The first is one of Africans telling each other to remember how they were treated, how families lost each other, and then it tells such a story. A father has a son and his wife dies in childbirth. He decides to raise the son, Mufasa, on his own along with the help of the four elements, Earth, Wind, Fire, and Water. The father is a blacksmith and teaches his son the skill as he grows. One day the son is captured while out gathering wood and, though all the elements try to rescue him, in the end he is sold to a plantation in the Carolinas. The father grieves for three years until finally Wind brings back the news that Mufasa is an apprentice to a blacksmith, hopefully to be freed one day soon, and is happy as he works using the skill his father taught him. The book closes with a poem telling how this was just one story of millions--so many lost their children. In the end, "Remember the wisdom of Mother Dongi: 'Kings may come and go, but the family endures forever.' Think on that when the silence comes." 4th-5th.… (more)
LibraryThing member abbylibrarian
A beautiful combination of powerful artwork and powerful words create a book that's perfect for classroom units on slavery. Put this book with some African and African-American folktales and you also have some great resources for a storytelling unit. This is definitely a book that won't soon be forgotten.


Original language


Physical description

48 p.; 9.4 inches


0375843841 / 9780375843846


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