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Check It Out: Things Past Telling by Sheila Williams

This is Billie Voss with the Sioux City Public Library and you’re listening to Check It Out.

Today, I am recommending “Things Past Telling” by Sheila Williams.

This captivating and emotional journey starts off in West Africa in the year 1758. A young girl known as Little Bird, begins an ordinary day fetching water with her family. The young girl’s fate is quickly changed forever when she is captured by slave traders by day’s end.

We sail the dark and frightening waters with this ten-year-old child who has been torn from her family and home. Before reaching the port of Savannah, the slave ship is captured by a pirate crew. The leader, named Caesar, frees all captured slaves onboard, but given Little Bird’s tender age, Caesar takes the young child under his wing. He gives her the name Miriam and she is taken to Caesar’s Island where she is taught the skills of healing and midwifery.

As a reader, there is a feeling of relief, that Miriam finally has hope for a decent future. Unfortunately, fate (or maybe just plain bad luck) intervenes again, and finds the young girl once again captured by slave traders. Miriam finds herself sailing on a ship destined for a life of slavery in America.

As the decades pass, Miriam never loses hope or her sense of self. Told in first person, this heart wrenching yet uplifting story tells the truth about slavery, family and love. Check out “Things Past Telling” by Sheila Williams at your Sioux City Public Library.

Support for Check It Out on Siouxland Public Media comes from Verde Outdoor Media. 

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