#WWW Wednesday: The Door of no Return by Kwame Alexander

Happy Wednesday from my little corner of the Book-O-Sphere, bookish peeps!

Today’s WWW Wednesday is a special one thanks to the kind people at Little, Brown And Company and Hear Our Voices. Thank both parties for the gifted e-ARC of The Door of No Return by Kwame Alexander I’ll be talking about today!

WWW Wednesday is a weekly meme hosted by Sam @ Taking On A World of Words and asks readers to answer the following questions:

  1. What did you read last?
  2. What are you currently reading?
  3. What will you read next?

Let’s jump right in!

Hear Our Voices Tour Ticket for The Door of No Return by Kwame Alexander

"1st Middle-Grade of the Season" on September 26

Location: Ghana

What did you read last?

I had the privilege of reading The Door of No Return by Kwame Alexander this month, and it was a book that took me on an emotional rollercoaster.

When faced with the phrase, “the door of no return,” most people of the African Diaspora will instantly think of the African Chattel Slave Trade and the slave holdings in Ghana were many of our ancestors’ last look at their African homes before they were violently dispersed to the winds of the Caribbean and Americas. But, Alexander takes us one step back from this history and reminds his readers that before people of the African Diaspora were placed in chains, they lived full lives and had rich histories of their own that did not center on the colonizer.

Using Kofi Offin, an 11-year-old boy from Upper Kwanta, Alexander gives readers a chance to get a different perspective of what life could have been like for a young child in pre-colonial Africa. Readers will see Kofi be faced with learning about his family and village’s history, pursuing his love of swimming, and duking it out with his arrogant cousin, who is his age mate.

Book cover of The Door of No Return by Kwame Alexander

What made me love The Door of No Return is that Alexander starts his story with the understanding that people of the African Diaspora lived full and rich lives that did not originally cater to the white gaze. Kofi and his family are shown in their fullness and given agency over their stories without the story becoming voyeuristic. 

This was something I appreciated as an empath because the history of those who were forced through a trading post on the Gold Coast before making the violent journey through the Middle Passage is always told in a way that centers whiteness. These gruesome stories almost read as if the authors want their readers to take pleasure in the disturbing details. However, Alexander handles Kofi’s story with care and humanizes this young boy and his village for readers.

If you are a reader who enjoys middle-grade fiction and is seeking a good place for yourself or your child to learn about the Middle Passage, I would highly recommend The Door of No Return by Kwame Alexander. It also would pair nicely with a viewing of Viola Davis’ new film, The Woman King. The Door of No Return is also a part of a trilogy that Alexander will continue in the coming year.

Click below for an exclusive audio snippet of The Door of No Return by Kwame Alexander to hear more from Alexander!

Excerpt from Door of No Return by Kwame Alexander

What are you currently reading?

Book cover for Excuse Me While I Ugly Cry by Joya Goffney

I am currently reading Excuse Me While I Ugly Cry by Joya Goffney. Goffney’s book follows Quinn, a high school senior, who loses her prized journal of list and is blackmailed into completing her secret bucket list before her masked antagonizer exposes her secret to the school. Quinn faces everything from racism to reveling in her Blackness to coping with her grandmother’s dementia. Through it all, Goffney highlights the aspects of community and family life that make for a good and realistic Young Adult novel.

What will you read next?

As always, I’m a mood reader, so I cannot tell you what I’ll be reading next. But, if you have any suggestions, leave them below!

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