Christmas in the Big House, Christmas in the Quarters

by Patricia C. McKissack, Fredrick McKissack, and John Thompson

To depict daily life for the two communities living in parallel realities on a Virginia... read more

To depict daily life for the two communities living in parallel realities on a Virginia plantation during December, 1859, the authors gained access to primary source materials from Tidewater plantation records and held interviews there to find out more family histories. Wisely setting their text immediately before the outbreak of the Civil War, the McKissacks offer an amazing balance of perspectives while they report the distinctive culture of the Quarters. Showing the misery as well as the dignity of families in captivity, they allow readers to draw their own conclusions. Thompson's detailed paintings rendered in acrylic and reproduced in full-color recreate the season and the buildings as well as some of the individually distinct Afro-centric head-wraps of enslaved women and holiday decorations in the Big House. Both the text and the illustrations move far beyond conventional media-induced images of plantation life. Incomparable in scope, content and emotional impact, this well designed, easy-to-read account furnishes provocative information and offers dynamic year-round reading. Winner, 1994 CCBC Coretta Scott King Award Discussion: Writing. (Ages 8-13)

© Cooperative Children's Book Center, Univ. of Wisconsin - Madison, 1994

show less