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Brave Music of a Distant Drum

3.72 of 5 stars 3.72  ·  rating details  ·  29 ratings  ·  8 reviews

In Brave Music of a Distant Drum, a blind old slave woman, Ama, summons her son to come and write down her story so that her granddaughter and her granddaughter's children can one day read it and know their history.
Ama's son, Kwame Zumbi - named Zacharias Williams by the white Christians who raised him - considers his mother an old pagan and has little interest in doing mo
Paperback, 220 pages
Published February 15th 2012 by Red Deer Press (first published October 4th 2011)
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this story about broke my heart
Jo Butler
In the early 19th century, Zacharias is introduced to his mother in Portuguese Brazil. The two have not met for many years because they are both enslaved, held separate by different masters. At first Zacharias is repelled by Ama. She is old and blind, ugly to his eyes, and she calls him by an un-Christian name, Kwame Zumbi. Zacharias, a clerk for the United Kingdom consul, wonders whether she can actually be his mother.

Only after Ama asks him to write down her life does Zacharias begin to unders
This abreviated version for youth of the author's adult version of the book (which I have not read) makes for interesting and disturbing reading for those unfamiliar with the brutality of the slave trade and the cruel & thoughtless way that women were treated through much of history. As a history lesson, it serves well. As story, less so. Perhaps because I knew there was a more complete story out there, I felt as if I wasn't getting the whole story sometimes. However, the abruptness and matt ...more
Tal Honor
What a beautiful follow up to "Ama". The book is written for a young adult audience and is mostly from the point of view of Ama's son, which makes the book even more intriguing. The idea that we re-read Ama's stories from the previous book but this time it's not only her's also about and for her son. I love the idea that we have beliefs about people, who they are, and that those beliefs are changed as we find out who that person really is...and the best part is how much you change bec ...more
Nov 24, 2011 Manu added it  ·  (Review from the author)
From the blurb:

Ama is a slave. She is old and dying and has an incredible story to tell. It is about violence and heartache, but it is also a story of courage, hope, determination, and ultimately, love. Since Ama is blind, she cannot write down her story for future generations. Instead, she summons the son from whom she has been long separated. At first he thinks she’s old and tiresome. But as Ama’s astonishing journey unfolds in her own words, his world changes forever, until he can never see i
Reading AMA also will write review afterwards. It is blunt and sad. No one should forget what 12+ million people suffered. The book personalized a view into our recent past.
Nina Chachu
Not exactly a retelling of Herbstein's book, AMA, because there are additional characters, including Ama's son Kwame, to whom she tells her life story, even though she is an old woman, and blind.
Adapted from an adult version of the book. It felt like all the good parts were left in the adult version.
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