Under the Same Sun by Sharon Robinson Illustrated by AG Ford
Sharon Robinson, daughter of baseball great Jackie Robinson, shares an inspirational story about her family in Tanzania. AG Ford is a NEW YORK TIMES best-selling artist and winner of the NAACP Award.
Auntie Sharon and Grandmother Bibi have come to visit the family in Tanzania--all the way from America! Soon it will be Bibi's 85th birthday, and her seven grandchildren are planning a big surprise!
Sharon Robinson eloquently portrays the joys and pains of a family living on two continents. And she gives African-American history a powerful new perspective when seen through the eyes of modern-day African children. AG Ford's luminous oil paintings reflect all the warmth and spirit of this moving story.
--The New York Times Book Review
Robinson's book introduces young readers to a family living on two different continents and speaking different languages, English and Swahili. Emphasizing the family reunion in the context of the African diaspora offers a somewhat romantic if uplifting opportunity to learn about a tragic history.
The premise may look ordinary: a group of siblings eagerly await the arrival of their grandmother and aunt, but the particulars and illustrations make clear that this tale will be different. The setting is Tanzania, and the visiting relations are from America. Part heartwarming family story, part travelogue, the narrative comfortably meanders as it describes both culturally rich at-home routines as well as an amazing excursion to the Serengeti National Park. As with any meaningful vacation, everyone is changed by the experience, especially when, on the last day, the group visits the ruins of an old slave-trading post. There the children learn a sobering truth: one of their ancestors had been captured and taken to America. Robinson bases the affecting story on her own family history, and Ford captures the memorable moments in luminous, full-spread oil paintings, while the historic revelation is set apart in nearly monochromatic sepia, allowing youngsters to pause and reflect. Grandmother’s closing words will resonate with all readers: “land and sea may be between us, but we are all under the same sun.” The book concludes with a note and information on Tanzania. Grades K-3. --Jeanne McDermott