Rutgers University Project on Economics and Children

EconKids Home Older Children and Young Adults: 2010 Finding Family / by Tonya Bolden

Finding Family / by Tonya Bolden

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Title: Finding Family
Tonya Bolden
Publisher: Bloomsbury
ISBN: 978-1599903187
Year: 2010

Concepts: slavery, entrepreneurship, savings, jobs, economic class.

Review: Raised by her overly-protective grandfather and her garrulous Aunt Tilley, twelve-year old Delana Hannibal lived a sheltered life.  Ironically, even though her grandfather's house was filled with images and stories of all sorts of family members, Delana knew very little about her mother, who had died in child birth, and her father, who no one ever mentioned.

 Everything changed when Aunt Tilley passed away and an exiled family relation showed up, instilling in Delana the desire to break free from her "locked-up life" and learn more about her family. Delana's discoveries began with her grandfather, who she learned had grown up in slavery during the mid-1800s, purchased his own freedom, and worked and saved enough to own a series of barbershops and rental properties.  His repetitive advice over the years to save for something dear took on even more meaning when Delana discovered why her grandfather had kept silent about her parents for so long.

Set in the early 1900s, this novel about family ties uses a series of reproductions of antique photographs to motivate and embellish the story.  Although the narrative has a rather jumbled start, the story line takes offs with a powerful lesson about the long-term effects of slavery on attitudes toward work, saving, and prosperity.

Review by: Rutgers University Project on Economics and Children


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