Monday, December 23, 2013

Children’s Almanac Review: Molly Bannaky by McGill and Soentpiet






This Almanac by Anita Silvey has  become a wonderful resource for books! If you haven't picked up this book yet I Highly recommend it.Not only do you get literary and historical birthdays, every day has a book recommendation which is how I found this book:






Houghton Mifflin Company


Library Book


This oversized , gorgeously illustrated book centers around Molly’s journey from England to America in the late 16oo’s . Molly is sent before the English justice system for spilling a pail of milk from the land owners cow. This accident was considered a crime of theft which was punishable by death on the gallows. However Molly’s life was saved by a loophole in the British governmental system:  No one who could read the Bible could be executed . Once the thick tome was handed to Molly she read a passage in a strong clear voice. 

This action saved Molly’s life and sent her to America as an indentured servant to a tobacco planter in Maryland. After her seven years Molly was free to go and given an ox hitched to a cart loaded with: a plow, two hoes, a bag of tobacco seeds, a bag of seed corn, clothing and a gun.


Armed with these essentials Molly staked a claim to some land and began her faming life. Molly was lucky to have helpful neighbors but it became apparent she couldn't run the farm on her own . One day while passing through town she witnessed a slave auction and was especially drawn to one of them who stood proudly and defiant on the auction block. Molly decided she would buy this slave and free him after he helped her with the tobacco harvest.


As the two worked Molly’s property they



fell in love. Molly kept her promise and freed Bannaky and later married him, a direct violation of colonial law. However the couple and their farm thrived. Bannaky had a remarkable talent for farming and introduced their neighbors to the concepts of irrigation and crop rotation. The couple raised four daughters and built a prospering farm up until Bannaky’s death, several years later.

Molly lived the remainder of her life as a widow, watching her daughters grow and marry and taking a special interest in her young grandson Benjamin Banneker. It was Molly who taught young Benjamin to read and write and fueled his mind to aspire to great heights . Benjamin went on to become a noted scientist and astronomer and was the first black man to ever publish an almanac based on his studies, an almanac that came to the attention of Secretary of state Thomas Jefferson and later The Academy of Sciences in Paris.


Such a wonderful look at the bravery of colonial citizens and one woman's capacity to see the strength and intelligence in a man many believed inferior. An important and entertaining book!


Pamela D said...

The Almanac sounds fantastic. I will have to check it out.


It's amazing! It also has authors birthdays along with history /holiday facts