Time Pieces: The Book of Times

Time Pieces: The Book of Times

The boy should have known from Mary’s murmurs. He grew used to the sound – like the wind whistling. She had him by the hand with her long dress bunched in her fingers. At any moment she might throw the wide dress over his shoulders, keep him warm. It was springtime, but it was coldtime. It was damptime. All this she would whisper in the air, knowing the sound of her would comfort him. He caught the whispers in his ear.

They walked steadily. He kept his eyes closed at first. But then he would trip and fall to his knees, pulling her down with him. She’d jerk him up. Don’t resist. Don’t be afraid, came in his ears. Keep your eyes open. You can see in the dark if you look. Feel with your feet and eyes. Keep in time with my feet, as close as you can get to me without stepping on them. Stay close and don’t clomp! Stay quiet so we can get home. We are running. We are going. To Maud Free.

All the times of eleven-year-old Valena’s life are coming together this summer – backtime, forwardtime, nowtime.  As if in a dream, the story – her own story – is passed on to her Time Pieces: The Book of Times - paperbackabout her great-grandfather’s travels on the Underground Railroad to freedom.  Who is she, after all? Backtime somehow merges with nowtime as Valena suddenly sees how the chilling insensitivities of her own rural town echo similar cruelties of long ago.  Finally, it is the strength she finds in her family’s powerful history as well as the abiding love in her own home that enables her to begin creating her own future in a spirit of confidence and triumph.

Hardcover Art © 2002 John Thompson
Paperback Cover Art by Kadir Nelson

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