Boundless Grace

  • Title: Boundless Grace
  • Author: Mary Hoffman
  • Illustrator: Caroline Binch
  • Publisher: Dial Books for Young Readers, an division of Penguin Books USA, first Scholastic printing 1997
  • Publication year: 1995
  • Brief Summary: From Scholastic-“In a vividly illustrated sequel to Amazing Grace, an irrepressible little girl goes to Africa to meet her father’s new family. As enthusiastic and excited as she is in her new country, her loyalties are divided between her two families and she must find a way to belong to both. Nana says families are what you make them, and Grace decides to make the most of hers.”
  • Ideas for using this book in classroom or library – I think this book is unique (still, even though it was published in the 90s) in that it describes a divorced family, and the child’s perspective on having two families. I found a guide from two teachers, a Mrs. Kinsel and a Mrs. Barham, on the Springfield, IL District 186 School website that has a compare and contrast discussion to use after reading this book.
  • Whatever additional notes you’d like to add about this book and why you liked or didn’t like it – I was more than shocked to see that both the author and the illustrator of this book are white. However, I did find this review from Africa Access Review (A website that seeks to expand perspectives on Africa and has educated members as their officers) that says: “It is gratifying, however, to see a beautifully illustrated book that depicts an African country in a non-stereotypical and authentic manner. According to the book blurb, Binch traveled to Gambia twice to collect images for the illustrations. Her effort to achieve authenticity is evident to Gambians. Howard University professor Sulayman Nyang, a former resident of Banjul, found the illustrations accurate in almost every detail. This is a carefully crafted book.” I think this review changed my initial misgivings. Because I did find Binch’s illustrations quite vivid and very natural (not stereotypical).

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