Addy, American Girl: Recommended Readalikes

This blog is created in conjunction with the These Books Made Me podcast. Check out the corresponding episode, American Girl — Addy, on Apple Podcasts, Stitcher or wherever you normally listen to podcasts. Or you can simply click on the link to the episode to listen.

Every detail of the Addy series, from her first name (Aduke, after her great-grandmother, meaning “much loved” in Yoruba) to the heartbreak she experiences when they’re separated, shows how important family is to her. The strength that they embody and the love that they have for each other sustains Addy through the harrowing journey towards freedom and a new life. The following books can be enjoyed by young readers looking for more stories of courage, bravery, and family:

  • Midnight Without a Moon by Linda Williams Jackson
    Addy and Rose Lee Carter, a 13-year-old African-American girl living close to 100 years later, both have big dreams. Addy dreams of escaping enslavement in North Carolina; Rose dreams of a life beyond sharecropping in Mississippi. Both girls’ introspection give readers a clear and robust understanding of the historical context that shapes their lives.
  • Charlotte Spies for Justice: a Civil War Survival Story by Nikki Shannon Smith
    Do you think that Addy would have been a Union spy, given the opportunity? I believe she would have been. When twelve-year-old Charlotte overhears the plantation owner conspiring against the Confederates, Charlotte knows she must join forces with her to fight for justice. Readers will be on the edge of their seats throughout this entire fast paced book. Afterwards, enjoy the included nonfiction material and discussion questions about the Civil War.
  • One Crazy Summer by Rita Williams-Garcia
    Described as “the Penderwicks meet the Black Panthers” in its reviews, One Crazy Summer is the first in a trilogy about the Gaither Sisters. 11-year-old Delphine, 9-year-old Vonetta, and 7-year-old Fern travel from Brooklyn to Oakland, California, to spend a month with the mother they barely know. After a cold welcome, all three girls are sent to a nearby Black Panther summer camp, where they begin to learn the true depths of their mother’s resilience.

Looking for books more appropriate for teens and adults? Try making your way through these incredible books:

  • Balm by Dolen Perkins-Valdez
    You’ve probably read books focusing on slavery and the period of emancipation following the American Civil War. You might have even read books highlighting the traditional practice of herbalism from different cultures. And maybe you’ve read books involving mediums able to contact the deceased… but we highly doubt you’ve read a book that had all three. Until now. Set during the Civil War era and exploring the end of slavery, Balm is about three people struggling to overcome the pain of their pasts and define their futures.
  • Homegoing Yaa Gyasi
    Effia and Esi are half sisters born into different villages in eighteenth-century Ghana. Their lives couldn’t start off more differently: Effia is married off to an Englishman and lives in comfort in a spacious Cape Coast Castle. Esi is imprisoned in the dungeons beneath that same castle, unbeknownst to her sister, before being sold into the slave trade and shipped to America. Effia’s children are raised in relative luxury, sent abroad to be educated in England before returning to serve as administrators of their father’s Empire. Esi’s children are raised in slavery, beginning on plantations in the South and struggling through the Civil War and the Great Migration. Homegoing is an incredible and horrific look at history, colonialism and slavery in Ghana and America, across 250 years.
  • The Hundred Wells of Salaga by Ayesha Harruna Attah
    Set in pre-colonial Ghana and based on true events, two women’s lives converge as infighting threatens the region during the height of the slave trade at the end of the nineteenth century. Stolen away from her village of Botu after the death of her father, Aminah is taken to Salaga and forced into enslavement. Wurche, the willful daughter of a chief, lives on the other side of the conflict. Desperate to play an important role in her father’s court, she alternates between being oppressed and oppressing others from her position of power. Through these intertwining lives, readers are offered a remarkable view of slavery and how the scramble for Africa affected the lives of everyday people.

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