Black Dove, White Raven

by Elizabeth Wein

The alternating voices of foster siblings Emmy and Teo describe their life together... read more

The alternating voices of foster siblings Emmy and Teo describe their life together in the 1920s and early 1930s, first in the United States and then in Ethiopia, where they are caught in that emerging nation’s internal and international struggles. Teo’s mother, Delia, who was Black, and Emmy’s mother, Rhoda, who is white, were pilots who performed together in stunt shows. After Delia’s death, Rhoda moved the children to Ethiopia, fulfilling Delia’s dream for their family. Over the next five years, tensions begin to rise between the Ethiopian government and the Italians just over the country’s borders. At the same time, Haile Selassie is trying to bring his country into the 20th century while not offending the interests of the powerful Ethiopian landowners. Rhoda learns she won’t be able to keep Teo out of a war that seems inevitable when they learn Teo’s Ethopian father, long dead, was enslaved, meaning Teo, by law, is enslaved. The man who owns Teo demands his service to fly an ancient relic to safety before the war breaks out. Teo disappears while doing so, and Emmy, also a pilot, goes in search of him. Elizabeth Wein’s richly layered novel is dramatic, detailed, and gripping, with both main and secondary characters fully realized. Her author’s note goes into great detail about what is fact and what is fiction in her story, as well as providing additional historical context for the political history of Ethiopia. (Age 14 and older)

© Cooperative Children's Book Center, Univ. of Wisconsin - Madison, 2016

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