Today we’re thrilled to reveal the cover for Kin by Carole Boston Weatherford, illustrated by Jeffery Boston Weatherford! The cover was designed by Greg Stadnyk. The book will be released on September 19, 2023 by Atheneum Books for Young Readers. Preorder it here. Keep scrolling for an exclusive note from both author and illustrator!
A powerful portrait of a Black family tree shaped by enslavement and freedom, rendered in searing poems by acclaimed author Carole Boston Weatherford and stunning art by her son Jeffery Boston Weatherford.
I call their names:
Abram Alice Amey Arianna Antiqua
I call their names:
Isaac Jake James Jenny Jim
Every last one, property of the Lloyds,
the state’s preeminent enslavers.
Every last one, with a mind of their own
and a story that ain’t yet been told.
Carole and Jeffery Boston Weatherford’s ancestors are among the founders of Maryland. Their family history there extends more than three hundred years, but as with the genealogical searches of many African Americans with roots in slavery, their family tree can only be traced back five generations before going dark. And so from scraps of history, Carole and Jeffery have conjured the voices of their kin, creating an often painful but ultimately empowering story of who their people were in a breathtaking book that is at once deeply personal yet all too universal.
Carole’s poems capture voices ranging from her ancestors to Frederick Douglass to Harriet Tubman to the plantation house and land itself that connects them all, and Jeffery’s evocative illustrations help carry the story from the first mention of a forebear listed as property in a 1781 ledger to he and his mother’s homegoing trip to Africa in 2016. Shaped by loss, erasure, and ultimate reclamation, this is the story of not only Carole and Jeffery’s family, but of countless other Black families in America.
A word from the author:
When the Civil War broke out there were nearly four million African descendants enslaved in the United States. Most of their stories remain untold. I am compelled by the Black voices that were marginalized, muted, or literally muzzled. In Kin, Jeffery and I conjure our enslaved ancestors’ voices, imagine their visages, and recreate their milieu at the same Maryland plantation where a young Frederick Douglass was enslaved. Referencing plantation ledgers, military records, slave ship manifests, material culture, the landscape, and contemporary accounts, we came to know not only our ancestors but also their legacy that lives on through us. Kin is their testament and our offering. — Carole Boston Weatherford
A word from the illustrator:
This book is about my ancestors and the very blood running through my veins. Although this is a story about my family, I want it to be an a-ha moment for others who look like me that their story is one of legend. It’s one thing to come from Africa be enslaved but to know the history is empowering. This serves as a reclamation of power for our family. It was an honor to give a voice to my ancestors who words were not deemed valuable during their lifetimes. — Jeffery Weatherford
Carole Boston Weatherford has written many award-winning books for children, including You Can Fly illustrated by her son Jeffery; Box, which won a Newbery Honor; Unspeakable, which won the Coretta Scott King award, a Caldecott honor, and was a finalist for the National Book Award finalist; Respect: Aretha Franklin, the Queen of Soul, winner of the Coretta Scott King Illustrator Award; and Caldecott Honor winners Freedom in Congo Square; Voice of Freedom: Fannie Lou Hamer, Spirit of the Civil Rights Movement; and Moses: When Harriet Tubman Led Her People to Freedom. Carole lives in North Carolina. Visit her at CBWeatherford.com. You Can Fly illustrated by her son Jeffery; Box, which won a Newbery Honor; Unspeakable, which won the Coretta Scott King award, a Caldecott honor, and was a finalist for the National Book Award finalist; Respect: Aretha Franklin, the Queen of Soul, winner of the Coretta Scott King Illustrator Award; and Caldecott Honor winners Freedom in Congo Square; Voice of Freedom: Fannie Lou Hamer, Spirit of the Civil Rights Movement; and Moses: When Harriet Tubman Led Her People to Freedom. Carole lives in North Carolina. Visit her at CBWeatherford.com.
Jeffery Boston Weatherford is an award-winning children’s book illustrator and a performance poet. He has lectured, performed, and led art and writing workshops in the US, the Middle East, and West Africa. Jeffery was a Romare Bearden Scholar at Howard University, where he earned an MFA in painting and studied under members of the Black Arts Movement collective AfriCobra. A North Carolina native and resident, Jeffery has exhibited his art in North Carolina, Georgia, Maryland, and Washington, DC. Visit him at CBWeatherford.com.