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Way Up and Over Everything by Alice McGill
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Way Up and Over Everything

by Alice McGill

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I liked this book! First, I liked the illustrations. Although, the illustrations were simple, they went along with the mood of the text. For example, in order to show the repeditive work of the slave, the illustrator covered the whole page with slaves doing the exact same thing, and wearing the same clothes. Second, the language was imaginative, and descriptive. The character dreams he is flying to remove himself from his slave world. The author says, "You see, my grandmama's mama told her and she told me about this story about a long time ago when Africans could fly just like birds - way up and over everything." The main idea of this story is to educate readers of the harsh conditions for slaves. ( )
  lducke3 | Apr 11, 2016 |
This African American “flying” tale details the miraculous escape of five African slaves from Ol’ Man Deboreaux’s plantation. After a day of toil in the cotton fields, Jane, a 16-year-old slave, notices that the newly arrived Africans are nowhere to be found. When the vicious overseer and the plantation owner set out to find the fugitives, Jane bravely follows and witnesses the Africans taking to the air and soaring over the rolling countryside toward their home across the sea. Jane is warned not to repeat what she has seen, but repeat it she does, as this tale of transcendence and freedom is handed down from generation to generation, until it is finally related to readers by the story’s narrator, Jane’s great-great-granddaughter. Daly’s delicate and elongated figures, small in scale against the vast watercolor landscapes of the Georgia countryside, present a bird’s-eye view of the story and suggest the enormity of such an escape. McGill finishes with a note about the origins and variations of African American flying stories.
  ccsdss | Feb 8, 2016 |
This beautiful folktale includes the "gift of flying" which was "created by a wish for freedom" by Africans forced into slavery in America. The illustrations are light, dreamy, and reflect the hopefulness of the story. It is an inspiring tale told within a shameful and brutal part of American history. ( )
  EliseMT | Mar 23, 2015 |
Way Up and Over Everything is an African American tale of how some African slaves were able to fly back home to Africa to escape slavery in America. The story starts out with a little girl hearing the story about her great-great-grandmamma Jane, who was a slave in Georgia. On the farm she worked new slaves from Africa came to work. They were trying to adjust to the new way of life, but kept to themselves. After work on the first day, they disappeared, the master and the dogs went looking for them. They found the Africans out in the field in a circle, holding hands, and were chanting “Ndiseh Fe! Ndiseh Fe!” And one by one they walked up into the sky and flew away back to Africa.
This story is very inspirational. In the back of the book it has an “About This Story” section that tells you how and why this story was started, and why people believed it to be true. I’m sure it gave some hope to slaves that dreamed of being free. I am always very interested in learning about African American culture and what life was like on plantations during slavery time. This is a great story for all ages.
Classroom extensions for this book:
1. Students could wright down a story that their grandma, grandpa, aunt, uncle, mom, or dad has told them before about their family or culture. And have them share with the class one at a time.
2. For critical thinking you could have children write about what it would be like if someone took them from their home, changed their name, changed their language, and work for them for the rest of their life.
  CiaraLohman | Oct 20, 2014 |
This tale shows the strength of African people want to be free. The Africans hold their hands and climb up at the sky to escape the overseer and the master. This story is as a wish to let slavery to freedom as they could fly just like birds.
  Tien.Nguyen | Oct 10, 2011 |
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Amazon.com Product Description (ISBN 061838796X, Hardcover)

My great-grandmama’s mama told her and she told me this story about a long time ago . . .

So begins this account of the author’s great-great-grandmother Jane, and how she meets a slave new to the plantation, a slave who would prove to have magical powers . . . created by the wish for freedom. Alice McGill remembers this story, passed down in her family through the generations, from her childhood and how her greatgrandmother told it to her “as if unveiling a great, wonderful secret. My siblings and I believed that certain Africans shared this gift of taking to the air—‘way up and over everything.’”

(retrieved from Amazon Thu, 12 Mar 2015 18:12:33 -0400)

In this retelling of a folktale, five Africans escape the horrors of slavery by simply disappearing into thin air.

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