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The Door of No Return

af Kwame Alexander

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MedlemmerAnmeldelserPopularitetGennemsnitlig vurderingOmtaler
2278118,589 (4.13)4
Juvenile Fiction. Juvenile Literature. Historical Fiction. HTML:

Dreams are today's answers for tomorrow's questions.

11-year-old Kofi Offin dreams of water. Its mysterious, immersive quality. The rich, earthy scent of the current. The clearness, its urgent whisper that beckons with promises and secrets...

Kofi has heard the call on the banks of Upper Kwanta, in the village where he lives. He loves these things above all else: his family, the fireside tales of his father's father, a girl named Ama, and, of course, swimming. Some say he moves like a minnow, not just an ordinary boy so he's hoping to finally prove himself in front of Ama and his friends in a swimming contest against his older, stronger cousin.

But before this can take place, a festival comes to the villages of Upper and Lower Kwanta and Kofi's brother is chosen to represent Upper Kwanta in the wrestling contest. Encircled by cheering spectators and sounding drums, the two wrestlers from different villages kneel, ready to fight.

You are only fine, until you are not.

The match is over before it has barely begun, when the unthinkable??a sudden death??occurs...

The river does not care how grown you are.
As his world turns upside down, Kofi soon ends up in a fight for his life. What happens next will send him on a harrowing journey across land and sea, and away from everything he loves
… (mere)

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» Se også 4 omtaler

Viser 1-5 af 8 (næste | vis alle)
I didn't know what to expect with this novel. I try to read a novel without knowing much about it so that the story can unfold without prior knowledge. It's been on several lists for being well-written, so I decided to read it.

Basically, what has happened, happened. We can't turn back.

Kofi lives in Africa in the 1800s. He has a good life. His older brother possesses an admiring self-confidence; his parents and grandfather are loving; he likes a girl; and, he has a best friend. He talks about the beat of the drums and life in the village with his people. He speaks of a treaty with the neighboring country. He's not allowed out at night, and it's not explained to him why. Life is nice. The wrestling match between the countries comes about and everything changes.

The changes are what breaks the reader's heart and takes Kofi down a road that has changed history. ( )
  acargile | Sep 6, 2023 |
No, it's not Kwame's usual sports offering.....

.....but this is almost better.

Told in Kwame's novel in verse, we follow Kofi, a young African boy who is in love with a girl, torn between learning English and speaking in his native tongue, and focusing on besting his cousin in a swimming race. Kofi has always been told to avoid the river at sunset for danger lurks.

One day, Kofi learns how true that statement is.

Supposedly this is the first of a trilogy and to be honest, I am on the fence about that. You see, I am okay with ambivalent endings. Or endings that end somewhat on hope, you want more, but you don't want the storyline destroyed by pushing for me. Kofi's story his brother being killed in retaliation for accidentally killing someone from another village, Kofi being taken aboard what amounts to a slave ship, being enslaved by those of his own color is a sad but true one. Kwame admits wanting to document his people....and ultimately ending on hope. Owning the AFRICAN part of African American.

This book definitely skews older middle grade, if not teen, to me. Due to the violence, the subject matter, I will recommend this to older readers. It's not an obvious, or even appropriate segway from The Crossover. That being said, it is glorious! I could not put it down. ( )
  msgabbythelibrarian | Jun 11, 2023 |
Each character has such power as they face moments of joy and struggle. For a novel in verse (mostly) the book is still plot-driven/heavy, and will leave students and readers with a lot to draw on. Highly recommend!

Definitely consult trigger warnings and read the synopsis carefully before suggesting to patrons/families. ( )
  ACLopez6 | Feb 25, 2023 |
As the author states in the Acknowledgments, Black history didn't start with slavery. In this work, we meet Kofi and his friends and family in Ghana. They tell stories, play games, do chores. We experience their culture, history and humanity. Kofi is a school kid like any other, with a best friend, a rival and a crush. As far as I know, this pre-enslavement perspective is rare in children's literature and it's a welcome, necessary one. The style and format may present a challenge for some readers but it's definitely recommended when they are more ready for it. ( )
  Salsabrarian | Jan 5, 2023 |
*Spoilers*
Set in the Asante Kingdom in September 1860, this is the story of young Kofi Offin, who lives with his parents and grandfather and older brother and sisters in Upper Kwanta. He attends school, where he learns British history and the English language, and has feelings for a classmate, Ama. He has a rivalry with his cousin, also called Kofi, and challenges him to a swimming race. But before they can have the race, tragedies befall Kofi and his family: first, his older brother Kwasi accidentally kills a prince of Lower Kwanta in a fight. Kwasi is wracked by guilt, and their mother is terrified that Lower Kwanta will seek revenge despite the agreement between the two (her fear is warranted). Kofi is forced to watch his brother's fate, and his own is as bad or worse: he is captured by other Africans and brought to the Cape Coast Castle, where he is sold to white men and held prisoner before being loaded onto a slave ship. While prisoner, he meets a woman named Afua, and the two exchange stories. She takes her fate into her own hands, and Kofi is inspired by her words and her example; when a shipwreck occurs and he is unexpectedly reunited with his cousin Kofi, he dives bravely into the unknown.

A novel in verse with tremendous power, The Door of No Return shows life in the Asante Kingdom with vivid clarity, demonstrating effectively to modern American readers that Black history did not start in 1619.

Back matter: Acknowledgments, Twi glossary, Adinkra symbols, locations used (front matter: note from the author, map of the Asante kingdom / Cape Coast)

Quotes

...I cannot win for losing. (punished for speaking Twi at school, reprimanded for speaking English at home, 35)

Kofi, we dream
to heal
our memory
or to face
the unimaginable truth.
Dreams are hints
from the beyond,
but they can also be warnings. (Nana Mosi, 89)

Just as the body has the heart to pump life throughout it...our village...our nation...has always had the drum to feed our soul...It is the heartbeat of our people... (the story of the drum, 131)

we march inside
to begin another foreign history lesson...
and all I can wonder is
why we do not spend
as much time
learning the history
of our own kingdom. (147)

Once you carry your own water you will know the value of every drop. (Ama to Kofi, 157)

Kofi, he is your family. Even if you win, you lose.
What do you mean?
We are each branches of the same tree. It does not matter that we go in different directions. The roots are one. (168)

A history unknown will replay itself...
We must tell the boy what he needs to know. (Nana to Kofi's father, 171)

There is nothing more confining,
I hear Mr. Phillip read,
than the prison
we do not know
we are in. (265)

What you do not suffer for, you can never truly value. (Nimdee, the talking goat in the story, 333)

A door
of no return. (leaving the castle to go on the ship, 347)

When it is our turn
I look back
at the world we are leaving... (353)

To the white faces
with their sinister plans
and long guns
holding crooked power
and our destiny
in their thieving white hands,
we are not human.
But we are.
You must remember that,
Afua whispers. (358) ( )
  JennyArch | Dec 31, 2022 |
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Juvenile Fiction. Juvenile Literature. Historical Fiction. HTML:

Dreams are today's answers for tomorrow's questions.

11-year-old Kofi Offin dreams of water. Its mysterious, immersive quality. The rich, earthy scent of the current. The clearness, its urgent whisper that beckons with promises and secrets...

Kofi has heard the call on the banks of Upper Kwanta, in the village where he lives. He loves these things above all else: his family, the fireside tales of his father's father, a girl named Ama, and, of course, swimming. Some say he moves like a minnow, not just an ordinary boy so he's hoping to finally prove himself in front of Ama and his friends in a swimming contest against his older, stronger cousin.

But before this can take place, a festival comes to the villages of Upper and Lower Kwanta and Kofi's brother is chosen to represent Upper Kwanta in the wrestling contest. Encircled by cheering spectators and sounding drums, the two wrestlers from different villages kneel, ready to fight.

You are only fine, until you are not.

The match is over before it has barely begun, when the unthinkable??a sudden death??occurs...

The river does not care how grown you are.
As his world turns upside down, Kofi soon ends up in a fight for his life. What happens next will send him on a harrowing journey across land and sea, and away from everything he loves

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