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Three children of colour sit on a large tree branch with their mouths open, as if in awe. Brightly coloured floral motifs.

by Yaba Badoe

illustrated by Joelle Avelino

 

Longlisted Little Rebels Award 2024

 

A luxuriously illustrated, hardback, middle grade novella takes us on Man-man’s epic journey from Carnival to the shores of Africa.

 

Present day Ladbroke Grove. Man-man and sister, Pan, are thrilled  that Carnival is just around the corner. There are dance routines to perfect and costumes to embellish. Man-man is especially proud of his red jacket and tassels combo, inspired by his Haitian forebearers.  There’s just one thing bringing him down- his mum’s mysterious illness; she's getting weaker by the day, while the arrival of Nan to ‘help out’ just seems to make their household stressier!

 

Finally Carnival day arrives and Man-man thinks he may have a plan to restore his mum’s health: a cry out to the magnificent Queen of Revels. But the goddess’ response is not quite what he expects. In the blink of an eye, he and Pan and best friend, Kareem, are whisked away to a fantastical world which is scarred by and which echoes the pain of their ancestors, a traumatic hurt now reverberating in the very body and soul of Man-man’s beloved mum. Can the Tree of Memories conjure up a balm?

 

An ambitious fable whose magical realism does nothing to soften or detract from the full knowledge, truths and legacy of enslavement, offering instead a unique lense on Black History. We loved the strong matrilineal connections especially the “ability to slice and dice your enemies with a glance” which is passed from Nan to Mum to Pan. The women’s headwear namesakes were also a lovely touch: Gatsby, Trilby, Pan(ama). ‘I loved everything about this book. The story, the illustrations, the characters. It celebrates the past and present. It informs and questions.’ (Meryl, EY Consultant & Trainer, Letterbox Library reviewer). Age 8-12, Hardback 180pp

 

Themes: Black History

MAN-MAN AND THE TREE OF MEMORIES

SKU: 3344
£14.99 Regular Price
£13.49Sale Price
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