Children’s book on Atlantic slave trade reparations hits Halifax shelves
A group of bright young authors in Nova Scotia have finally released their much-anticipated children’s book, R is for Reparations.
The short story helps children learn their ABCs while deconstructing the Atlantic slave trade, poverty and anti-black racism with words like, “cause” for C, “fearless” for F, “good and global and governments” for G, and “zero tolerance” for Z.
Its explanations are a reflection of the authors’ visions for social justice in a world where Africans and their descendants in North America have suffered from intergenerational persecution. More than 30 children worked on the story during a Book-in-a-Day event held in Halifax in February last year.
Participants involved in creating the book say it’s an important conversation-starter for families in Canada and worldwide.
“If we have the words and if we have the language and if we have an understanding of what we’re talking about, then we can engage in a respectful conversation,” vice-chairperson Wanda Thomas of the Global Afrikan Congress told Global News.
“It’s a part of the children’s history. It’s a celebration that we come from a proud people, that we were able to make our way out of nowhere. It’s a recognition that some of the same barriers and things that people faced then still exist.”
Ten-year-old Zya Langdon, one of R is for Reparations‘ co-authors, said it’s important to educate young people about the crimes of the past so that history doesn’t repeat itself.
“If we don’t know about our history and what happened before, then we might make the same mistakes again and, well, we can’t let that happen,” she said.
The book launch took place at the Halifax North Memorial Public Library on Saturday, where dozens of community members gathered to celebrate the children’s accomplishment. The ceremony included Burundian drumming, a puppet show, speeches and songs as well as a promise that their book would reach an overseas audience.
David Comissiong, the official ambassador of Barbados to the 15-nation Caribbean Community, promised to bring copies to Caribbean prime ministers at a meeting in Saint Kitts taking place next week.
The book is available for purchase at Woozles and the Africville Museum in Halifax.
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