Eight-year old Tess doesn’t seem to understand why her and her mom must have permission for everything. Tess and her mom are slaves on Master Embry’s plantation.
Tess asks her mom all kinds of questions about nature such as who tells the moon to wake up, who tells the birds to sing, who tells the moon to sleep, etc. Her mom patiently answers all her questions. Finally, her mom has to explain to her that they are slaves and everything they do is up to Master Embry. After hearing this, you can see the pain that Tess feels through the words of the story.
This is a touching, but sad story. Tess and her mom can’t change their situation, but they vow that nobody will ever control their thoughts and love. However, there is a fear that one day they can be separated. Tess also promises to the moon that one day she’ll be free. This book tells the story of slave women and girls.
There’s also an extra note about the story at the end giving some details about slavery. The illustrations are very colorful and follow along well with the story. The book is recommended for ages 8 and up, but it could be too confusing and emotional for younger children.
Picture book for ages 8 and up.
Having learned from Mama that the world is filled with things that do what they please like the moon and the cat, eight-year-old Tess wonders why she and Mama are constantly told what to do. They are told when to play, when to eat, and even when to sleep. Mama gently explains that they are slaves and are told what to do because they are owned by the couple in the big house whose fields they work. But Tess realizes that a person can never truly be owned. The master cannot control her mind or her heart.
This is a tender story that tells of the heartbreak of slavery and one little girl’s powerful plea for freedom.