18 December 2008

Priscilla and the Hollyhocks

-- a review of the book by Anne Broyles

I came across this book while doing a little internet browsing on the "Trail of Tears." I checked it out of the library because the cover was so pretty, it seemed to be on my children's reading level, and it was a true storybook.

It doesn't seem to have won any major illustration or writing awards, and I'm not sure why. The pictures are just captivating. This little girl is drawn so beautifully. Priscilla is drawn with distinctly African slave features, even down to the rag on her head, but without looking like a caricature picture. The flowers through the book were cheerful and symbolic.

I think you'll love this book.

Even if you're all grown up, do check this one out sometime. She's born a slave and her "master" sold her mother. She was mistreated, but later bought by a Cherokee family and taken on the Trail of Tears. She comes across a white man she had met earlier when he had visited her "master." This man paid a large sum of money ($1,000 in gold!) to buy her freedom.

What's more, he ADOPTED her and loved her as his other children. I was very touched by this idea that her biological mother was still alive and probably wondering what happened to her baby. But that at the same time, through all her hard times, Priscilla understood that her mother would have wanted her to be happy and she embraced her new family. And grew flowers from the seeds of those her mother left.


Check out this book! I think I'll be reading it several times before I return it.


  1. Oooh, sounds like one for me! The Trail of Tears just devestates me.

  2. I added this to my wish list on Shelfari. What a neat tool! I still have more books than I can read in a lifetime, but at least I am collecting them virtually rather than in real life.

  3. Ganeida, Elf cried when he heard about it, too.

    Julie, it would probably be very applicable for your kids. SPECIALLY the part about Ma still probably living somewhere else in less than the best circumstances... but wishing the best for her child... And Priscilla being part of this new family.

    But Priscilla got like 15 brothers and sisters right then! LOL!

  4. Sounds like a wonderful book. I'll look for it at the library.

  5. Thank you so much for your kind comments about my book. I feel so privileged to have discovered and written Priscilla's story. For those who want more teaching materials on the book, please check out http://www.annebroyles.com/teachers_priscilla.htm on my web page, which has links to a disussion and activity guide. I also passed your comments on to the illustrator.

    Anne Broyles


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