Reviewed by Elizabeth Abena Osei
When I was eight years old, my mother introduced me to slave narratives with Meet Addy, the story of the Black enslaved girl in the American Girl Book Collection. It was one of the first times I read about slavery from the perspective of a young child, and it had such an impact on me that it inspired me to read more challenging works by Sojourner Truth, Frederick Douglass, Equiano, and other authors. I believe my interest in postcolonial issues was first sparked at a young age by my introduction to Meet Addy.
Many, many years on and I find myself enmeshed in the life of another young character during the time of the Trans-Atlantic Slave Trade but this time, I was not prepared for what was coming. The Door of No Return chronicles the life of a bright 11-year-old growing up in Asante territory on the colonial Gold Coast. This stirring tale moves from the everyday life of a young boy who challenges his haughty cousin to a swim-off to the terrifying incidents of capture, detention, sale into enslavement, and the journey to an uncharted land. Despite the fact that it ends on a hopeful note, one cannot deny how devastating the activities of enslavement have been on the people. I find it particularly terrifying how quickly someone’s status could change from being an ordinary human to being enslaved. A village is having a commemorative event one minute, and marauders are stealing children on the river banks the next. Continue reading on Africa Access.
The Door of No Return by Kwame Alexander
on September 27, 2022
Reading Level: Grades 6-8
Review Source: Africa Access
Also by this author: Solo
Publisher's Synopsis: In his village in Upper Kwanta, 11-year-old Kofi loves his family, playing oware with his grandfather and swimming in the river Offin. He’s warned though, to never go to the river at night. His brother tells him, "There are things about the water you do not know. “
"Like what?" Kofi asks."
"The beasts,” his brother answers.
One fateful night, the unthinkable happens and in a flash, Kofi’s world turns upside down. Kofi soon ends up in a fight for his life and what happens next will send him on a harrowing journey across land and sea, and away from everything he loves. This spellbinding novel by the author of The Crossover and Booked will take you on an unforgettable adventure that will open your eyes and break your heart. The Door of No Return is an excellent choice for independent reading, sharing in the classroom, homeschooling, and book groups.