Finding Family

by Tonya Bolden

Tonya Bolden incorporates vintage photographs of African Americans into a fictional... read more

Tonya Bolden incorporates vintage photographs of African Americans into a fictional story about twelve-year-old Delana, who lives with her grandfather and great aunt in Charleston, West Virginia, 1905. Delana’s Great Aunt Tilley often shows old family photos and tells Delana stories about the people in them. When Great Aunt Tilley dies, Delana’s second cousin Ambertine (“trash and trouble,” Aunt Tilley always said) secretly shows up and begins telling Delana more about her family—stories Aunt Tilley never told. Suddenly, all of Aunt Tilley’s family stories, including—and especially—the one about Delana’s own parents are cast into doubt. After Delana discovers her father did not abandon her after her mother’s death as she’d always been told, she’s full of anger at her grandfather, who forced her father into making an unfair, painful choice. Tonya Bolden successfully balances Delana’s feelings of grief, loss, and anger with eventual compassion and forgiveness in this compelling story of self-discovery and coming of age that builds to a satisfying conclusion, including a long-awaited photograph of Delana herself. (Ages 9–12)

© Cooperative Children's Book Center, Univ. of Wisconsin - Madison, 2011

show less