Linda Lipko's Reviews > The Ever-After Bird

The Ever-After Bird by Ann Rinaldi
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's review
Mar 18, 2011

it was amazing
bookshelves: young-adult, american-history
Read in March, 2011

Recently, after reading so many books re. the holocaust, I began to point fingers at the Germans, wondering just what kind of culture perpetrated such egregious violence against those whom they deemed less worth.

Then, I was snapped back to reality that cruelty and vile inhumanity isn't reserved merely for the Nazis. In fact, as I'm well aware, our country has a nasty, ugly history of barbarism.

My most recent read is one I highly recommend for many reasons, primarily because of the simple yet complex way in which Ann Rinaldi addressed the issue of American slavery and the culture that stoked the fires of injustice.

CeCe McGill is a young teen aged girl when her father, an abolitionist, is killed while helping slaves escape. Unkind to her, yet sensitive to the plight of slaves, her father risked his life to help others.

When her Uncle Alex is appointed her guardian, she learns he also is an abolitionist, but is wary of hypocrisy and doesn't trust him. As the story unfolds, a beautiful relationship develops.

Her Uncle is a doctor and an ornithologist who paints exquisite renditions of rare birds found in the south. When Cece accompanies her Uncle's and Erline, his black, educated assistant, traveling to Georgia in pursuit of the rare scarlet ibis, CeCe witnesses the horror of slavery.

Named the forever-after bird by slaves, it is thought that when this bird is spotted, those who are bound will be freed.

Accommodated at beautiful plantations, Earline must play the role of slave and CeCe must keep the secret that not only are they looking for rare birds, but in addition, they are providing guidance and resources for slaves to follow the Northern Star toward safety in the Underground Railway movement.

CeCe astutely observes the hypocrisy and cruelty of lily white rich plantation owners who claim to want what is best for society while brutally subjugating an entire population of people they feel inferior.

When black Earline falls in love with a white man, severe consequences occur and CeCe is left with a moral decision that will forever change her.

This is a beautiful multi-layered book with many themes.

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