In the first middle grade offering from Zora Neale Hurston and Ibram X. Kendi, young readers are introduced to the remarkable and true-life story of Cudjo Lewis, one of the last survivors of the Atlantic human trade, in an adaptation of the internationally bestselling and critically acclaimed Barracoon.
This is the life story of Cudjo Lewis, as told by himself.
Of the millions of men, women, and children transported from Africa to America to be enslaved, eighty-six-year-old Cudjo Lewis was then the only person alive to tell the story of his capture and bondage—fifty years after the Atlantic human trade was outlawed in the United States. Cudjo shared his firsthand account with legendary folklorist, anthropologist, and writer Zora Neale Hurston.
Adapted with care and delivered with age-appropriate historical context by award-winning historian Ibram X. Kendi, Cudjo’s incredible story is now available for young readers and emerging scholars. With powerful illustrations by Jazzmen Lee-Johnson, this poignant work is an invaluable contribution to our shared history and culture.
Zora Neale Hurston was a novelist, folklorist, and anthropologist. She wrote four novels (Jonah’s Gourd Vine, 1934; Their Eyes Were Watching God, 1937; Moses, Man of the Mountains, 1939; and Seraph on the Suwanee, 1948); two books of folklore (Mules and Men, 1935, and Every Tongue Got to Confess, 2001); a work of anthropological research, (Tell My Horse, 1938); an autobiography (Dust Tracks on a Road, 1942); an international bestselling nonfiction work (Barracoon: The Story of the Last “Black Cargo,” 2018); and over fifty short stories, essays, and plays. She attended Howard University, Barnard College, and Columbia University and was a graduate of Barnard College in 1928. She was born on January 7, 1891, in Notasulga, Alabama, and grew up in Eatonville, Florida.
Jazzmen Lee-Johnson is a visual artist, scholar, composer, and curator. She received her BFA in film, animation, and video at Rhode Island School of Design, her MA in public humanities at Brown University, and a heavy dose of education working with youth in Baltimore, South Africa, New York, and Providence. Jazzmen was the 2019 inaugural Artist in Residence at the Rhode Island Department of Health, the 2020 Artist Fellow at the RISD Museum, and a 2021 Fitt Artist-in-Residence at the John Nicholas Brown Center for Humanities and Cultural Heritage at Brown University.
Ibram X. Kendi is a National Book Award–winning and #1 New York Times bestselling author. His books include Antiracist Baby; Goodnight Racism; How to Be an Antiracist; and How to Raise an Antiracist. Kendi is the Andrew W. Mellon Professor in the Humanities at Boston University and the director of the BU Center for Antiracist Research. In 2020, Time magazine named Kendi one of the 100 most influential people in the world. He has also been awarded a 2021 MacArthur Fellowship.
"Kendi allows Hurston’s storytelling mastery to shine through for younger readers... a powerful enslavement narrative from a literary icon, deftly retold for a younger audience"—Kirkus — Kirkus Reviews
It is [an] important historic document that provides an intimate look at slavery in America...Belongs in every library. — Booklist (starred review)
[An] essential text. — Bulletin of the Center for Children’s Books (starred review)