How God Fix Jonah
Book: How God Fix Jonah , by Lorenz Graham, Ashley Bryan (Illustrator), Effie Lee Morris, ISBN10: 1563976986, ISBN13: 9781563976988, Boyds Mills Press, October 2000, Hardcover
"Utterly delightful" is how Zora Neal Hurston described this book when it was first published in 1946. Long out of print, Lorenz Graham's beautiful collection of Bible stories, told in the idiom of West Africa, is available again in an expanded edition newly illustrated by Ashley Bryan. This revised edition includes a foreword by Effie Lee Morris, along with the original foreword by W. E. B. Du Bois. Together they provide an appreciation of the work of Lorenz Graham and his classic book.
(Booklist) - Hazel Rochman
The son of an African Methodist Episcopal minister in California, Graham taught in a missionary school in Liberia in the 1920s. He wrote this collection of biblical story-poems, which he published in 1946, in the voices of West African teachers and students. Now the collection has been reissued in a handsome volume with dramatic, new, full-page block prints by Ashley Bryan. The stories, great for reading aloud, have the simplicity and rhythm of the oral tradition. Both colloquial and poetic, they bring the holy into daily life. There's Noah ("God Wash the World and Start Again"), Solomon ("Wise Sword Find True Mommy"), Ruth, Samson, and many others. There are also a few selections from the New Testament, among them, "Make glad all people / God's pican be born in Bethlehem." The word pican, with its racist associations to picaninny, may be a problem with some readers, but as Graham explains in his introduction, the original word, meaning baby, son, or child, was used with great tenderness up and down the West African coast. It would be a shame to deprive today's children of this newly illustrated collection, endorsed by leading black authors, educators, and political leaders, because of the occasional use of this word. Most beautiful is the story of the Prodigal Son, told with a dramatic simplicity that's just right for readers' theater: the wastrel son's return and celebration, the good son's complaint to his father ("I work, I work, I work, I never left you. All the time you never kill one small goat for me. How you do me so?"), and the moving reply ("He was dead and now he live. He ain't got nothin. And he hungry"). A book to share across generations.
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