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Finding Family

3.53  ·  Rating details ·  122 Ratings  ·  46 Reviews
Delana has never known her parents. Raised by her Aunt Tilley and a reclusive grandfather, Delana has led a sheltered existence, nurtured on her aunt's wild family histories. But when Aunt Tilley dies, Delana confronts her pent-up curiosities and embarks on a quest to unravel her aunt's fictions and draw out her mysterious grandfather. In searching for her true history, De ...more
Hardcover, 192 pages
Published August 31st 2010 by Bloomsbury USA Childrens
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Rating details
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Feb 03, 2011 rated it really liked it
This was a wonderful story about a young girl's quest to figure out her family tree, and ultimately to learn something about her parents. The use of vintage photographs in the book was a touch of genius. A most enjoyable read!!
Aug 24, 2015 rated it liked it
This book was really good. I saw it and picked it off the shelf one day, just for an extra read. I would definitely recommend it for an extra read.
Edward Sullivan
Sep 14, 2010 rated it really liked it
Tonya Bolden's first foray into novel writing and an impressive one. A beautifully written coming-of-age story set in early 20th century West Virginia.
Jun 22, 2012 rated it really liked it
I really enjoyed the language.
Brian Kelley
Jan 14, 2011 rated it really liked it
One of the most appealing aspects of Tonya Bolden's YA novel Finding Family is how it came to be put together. Bolden writes that she has collected all sorts of things over the years, but most notably she has collected old photographs. Several of these photographs have been pieced together to create a fictional family and history--a history which has been kept a secret from her young female protagonist Delana Hannibal.

The author writes, "So in the making of Finding Family I had the great thrill
Apr 23, 2011 rated it liked it
Shelves: read-in-2011
The ending was unsatisfactory. Delana sends a postcard to a certain family member but the book ends before she gets a response. I didn't think I had enough of a grasp on the personality of that family member to be able to decide how they would have responded. As a lover of historical fiction I wanted to know the exact time period the story was set but it's not clear, only that it's the early 20th century. The biggest problem I had with the book is that there is no plot and the problem is exacerb ...more
Bolden, T. (2010). Finding family. New York: Bloomsbury.

Summary: Delana, the story's 12-year-old main character, lives her life under the guardianship of her Grandpa and Aunt Tilley--that is, until Aunt Tilley passes away. Her mother had passed away shortly after she was born, and her father had run off to some unknown corners of the nation. It was after her aunt's death that Delana had a rising urge to find her father and figure out how he might fit into her life now. After many surprises and b
Apr 05, 2011 rated it really liked it
Its 1905, 12 yr old Delena is being raised by her grandpa and aunt Tilley. Both are very cautious when it comes to what Delena is allowed to do. (usually the answer is no) The house is filled with family photographs. Delena wonders about everyone's story. Her grandpa isn't talking and aunt Tilley only shares a little, sometimes. Since, Delena was little, her Tilley was telling what to be wary of (pretty much everything). Delena's aunt also told her many stories about the mother's she's never see ...more
Deven Black
Mar 26, 2011 rated it really liked it
Bolden selects more than a dozen antique pictures from a collection, adds in some historical details, and unleashes her powerful imagination to weave an engaging story that will captivate young readers, teen readers and adults who have ever wondered about a close relative they’ve never met. This is a story about family, about imagination, about coming of age and wondering where you have come from, where you are going.
Young Delana’s father ran off before she ever met him and her mother is dead
Book 6 Bibliographic Citation:
Bolden, T. (2010). Finding family. New York, NY: Bloomsbury Publishing USA.

Age/Grade Level: (Ages 8–12, Grades 3–6)

Having never known her parents and fresh from the loss of her aunt, Delana searches for her identity. Her search leads to the fulfillment of who she is along with a new relationship with her reclusive grandfather, one that is built on trust and understanding.

Awards/Reviewing Sources:
Alabama Camellia Children’s Choice Book Award Nominee 2011-2012
t the turn of the 20th century, Delana Hannibal is comfortable living with her grandfather and Aunt Tillie in Charleston, WV. She's learned from Aunt Tillie not to question and to beware of many dangers. Delana loves her Aunt Tillie, though, especially the funny family stories she tells that accompany family photos. The two people that Aunt Tillie never talks about are Delana's parents. She assumes that talking about her mother makes Grandpa said and Delana was told her father was a wastrel who ...more
Apr 21, 2012 rated it it was ok
Shelves: mock-newbery
Photograph - REM w/Natalie Merchant

I found this photograph
Underneath the picture glass
Tender face of black and white
Beautiful, a haunting sight
Looked into an angels smile
Captivated all the while
From the hair and clothes she wore
I'd place her in between the wars

Was she willing when she sat?
Posed the pretty photograph
Save her flowering and fair
Days to come, days to share
A big smile for the camera
How did she know?
The moment could be lost forever
Forever more

I found this photograph
Dec 05, 2012 added it
Bolden, Tanya. (2010). Finding Family. New York: Bloomsbury. 192 pp. ISBN 978-1-599-90318-7 (Hard Cover); $15.99.

Delana does not know her parents. Aunt Tilley has provided Delana with a very comfortable picture of who she is, but when Aunt Tilley dies, cousin Ambertine, “Trash and trouble,” is asking Delana to look deeper. Ambertine turns many of Aunt Tilley’s stories upside down forcing Delana to find her own truths about Aunt Tilley, Ambertine, and the parents she never knew. Finding her famil
Oct 28, 2011 rated it really liked it
Set during the early part of the 20th century, twelve-year-old Delana Hannibal lives with her Aunt Tilly and grandfather in rural West Virginia. Delana’s mother died shortly after childbirth and she was told that her father had run-off and left her. Aunt Tilly loved Delana as if she were her own and shared rich stories with her about her family’s past. She would take out pictures of kinfolk on Sunday afternoons and place them all around the living room. Then she and Delana would take a walk arou ...more
While wondering if the stories handed down from her Aunt Tilley are truth or misinterpretations, misinformation, or downright lies, Delana sets her mind to a fact-finding mission of family truths. Set in motion because of Tilley's death, Delana wonders who will be there for her now...will it be her aging grandfather (and does he really love her?), her kindly neighbor Miss Ida, or the long-lost, never-met father she has only heard ominous things about.

After Tilley's funeral, Delana is visited by
Bracelle Trujillo
Intermediate (4-6)

Reviewed by School Library Journal on 09/01/2010 (retrieved from titlewave)

Finding Family portrays a young lady who is faced with a traumatic event when her loving Aunt Tillie dies. She is then secretly introduced to her estranged cousin who informs Delana of the lies she has been told by Aunt Tillie, and more importantly that her father is still alive. She confronts her last remaining caregiver, her grandfather, about these lies. Her grandfather soon realizes his mistake and p
Jan 06, 2011 rated it really liked it
For many years the author collected 19th and early 20th century photographs, tintypes, postcards, etc. She spent a lot of time looking at the faces of the long gone people in the pictures and she imagined stories for them. She thought about the post cards and how they could fit into these people's lives. And Finding Family is the result.

Delana was raised by her widowed grandfather and his sister after her mother died. She knows nothing about her father, not even his name--her great-aunt clearly
Jul 23, 2011 rated it it was amazing
"Delana has never known her parents. Raised by her Aunt Tilley and a reclusive grandfather, Delana has led a sheltered existence, nurtured on her aunt's wild family histories. But when Aunt Tilley dies, Delana confronts her pent-up curiosities and embarks on a quest to unravel her aunt's fictions and draw out her mysterious grandfather. In searching for her true history, Delana finds herself, and a home in the one place she never thought to look. This moving fictional story is imagined from real ...more
Jennifer Wardrip
Reviewed by Monica Sheffo for

Delana has never known her parents. Raised by her Grandpa and Aunt Tilley, she has very few clues to her past. And when Aunt Tilley suddenly dies, she fears that the last bit of her mother died, too.

An unexpected visit from a relative leads Delana to discover that everything she had been told about her parents was a lie. Can she piece together her mysterious past to discover who she truly is? Find out in FINDING FAMILY.

Tonya Bolden creates a story ri
Erin Sterling
Sweet story set in the (early 1900s? one of my complaints about the book was that it was never clear what the date was, but sometime fairly soon after the end of slavery) about a girl who lives with her grandfather and her aunt, leading a somewhat sheltered life. When her aunt dies, she decides to learn more about her extended family and who her mother and father really were. It becomes a mystery when she learns that the story wasn't exactly the same as she was told growing up. Gentle, sweet sto ...more
Finding Family was a quick and easy read. Delano's is living a sheltered life with her great aunt and grandfather. She has been told very little about her mother who is deceased and even less about her father. What little her aunt has told her of her father hasn't been complimentary. When her Great Aunt Tilley passes away Delano begins to ask more questions about her parents and her family. I enjoyed this story and the wonderful photos that were used throughout the book. My only complaint is tha ...more
Ann Marie
Nov 14, 2014 rated it liked it
This was a very sweet quick read...I would place it in a fourth/fifth grade reading slot...takes place in the very early 1900's...Delana is a 12 year old who is learning things are not always as they seem and lies are not always lies but colored truths...she has to come to terms with herself when she thinks she cannot trust others to be straight...sometimes the reading was - tough - because this 12 year old is doing the telling and it is after all in like 1903 but it is a very true felt story an ...more
Jun 26, 2012 rated it it was amazing
I liked this one for several reasons. Besides having a well-rounded out African American character, it had an intriguing story line involving geneology. Finding Family plays a part ontwo levels: Delana trying to find her own and her grandfather's inability to find all of his. I LOVED Aunt Tilley...her voice rang so true! The other part I found interesting, and can remember being facinated with this as a young reader, were the photographs interspersed throughout the story and the family tree diag ...more
Karen Arendt
Set in the early 1900s, Delana learns about her mother who died when she was a baby and her father, whom she does not know. She lives with her Aunt, who passes away, and her grandfather. After her aunt dies, she starts to learn the secrets about her parents. I found the old photos used in the story fascinating and the inclusion of a family tree at the end of the book helpful. Good for fans of historical fiction, slavery fiction, and families with secrets.
Jun 09, 2011 rated it it was amazing
I read this book and really enjoyed the visual the old photographs gave to the story about a girl who is finding out the truth about her family after being sheltered from it her whole life. I definitely think it gives a look into the world during that time period in history and tells a story about family, grief and hidden family secrets. The author did a fantastic job with Delana's character of a girl who has been sheltered and finally breaking free from childhood into adolescence.
Mar 04, 2012 rated it liked it
this book was good not great but was a little confusing but since it added pictures which i really liked about this book really helped me out.this book is a real southern feel to it!seriously when i read it i could feel it which was a great detail.the genre was historical fiction which really played off great.after all this book is 3 stars because it is confusing but this is just my opinion..i didnt give much detail because i dont like to spoil.
Susan Leland
Jan 06, 2011 rated it it was ok
Interesting concept -- story is based on the author's collection of old photographs, which are included throughout the book. But, I felt the story needed more plot. So many different people are mentioned but characters are not fully developed. The blending of primary materials with text has some similarity to Countdown, but Countdown is a much better book.
Nov 21, 2010 rated it liked it
Shelves: ysd
Tilley has never known her parents but, of course, she dearly wants to know about them. Like the antique photos in the book, the thought of her parents is a kind of distant mirror, and one not encouraged by the person raising her. But family ties cannot be suppressed forever, and we root for Tilley as she quests to learn her identity. Not a great book, but a good and charming one.
Sep 04, 2011 rated it really liked it
Summary: Raised in Charleston, West Virginia, at the turn of the twentieth century by her grandfather and aunt on off-putting tales of family members she has never met, twelve-year-old Delana is shocked when, after Aunt Tilley dies, she learns the truth about her parents and some of her other relatives.
Faith Stein
Apr 29, 2016 rated it really liked it
I think book is very interesting and a good book to read. Also I think that the author is trying to say to spend more time with your family because it is always good to hang out with them. And I think that the author is trying to also say that your family is very important.
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Author and publisher Tonya Wilyce Bolden was born on March 1, 1959, in New York City to Georgia Bolden, a homemaker, and Willie Bolden, a garment center shipping manager. Bolden grew up in Harlem in a musical family and loved to read; she attended Public M.E.S. 146, an elementary school in Manhattan, and then graduated from the Chapin School, a private secondary school, in Manhattan in 1976. Bolde ...more
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