The ‘Book of Addis’ Syllabus and Discussion Guide
Where can I find books on Black history, revolution, resistance and more? Where’s my #GetWokeStayWoke guide? Right here!
ABOUT BOOK OF ADDIS: CRADLED EMBERS©
When 17-year-old enslaved girl Addis accidentally kills her enslaver, the first president of the young country Amerika, she unwittingly becomes the face of the greatest conflict in the nation’s short history. On the run for her life, with unlikely friends and a world of enemies, Addis becomes the most wanted person alive and a global symbol of hope for enslaved people longing for freedom.
Written in an 18th Century Black Diasporic vernacular, the 2017 Phillis Wheatley First Fiction Book Award and BCALA Literary Award-winning Book of Addis reaches back in time to explore the intergenerational impact of oppression and plots a daring path into the future. An epic tale of love, loss, and the cost of liberation, Book of Addis: Cradled Embers is the first novel in the 3-part literary fiction series Book of Addis.
PRAISE FOR BOOK OF ADDIS: CRADLED EMBERS©
“Raw, breathtaking, and inspiring.”
— 2017 Black Caucus of the American Library Association Literary Awards Jury
“This is a brilliant piece of work.”
— Susan Cheever, best-selling/award-winning author, Drinking in America: Our Secret History
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A For the People Press Paperback | ISBN: 978-0-692-72106-3| Price: $16.99
About the Author
Brooke C. Obie is the award-winning author of the alternative history novel BOOK OF ADDIS: CRADLED EMBERS. The first in a 3-part series, BOOK OF ADDIS: CRADLED EMBERS won the 2017 Phillis Wheatley Book Award for First Fiction and the 2017 Black Caucus of the American Library Association Literary Award for self-published fiction. Brooke is a graduate of Hampton University, summa cum laude, Mercer University School of Law, where she served as the first Black Eleventh Circuit Survey Editor of the Mercer Law Review, and The New School’s Master of Fine Arts in Creative Writing, Fiction program, where her novel proposal, which became BOOK OF ADDIS: CRADLED EMBERS, was a finalist for the Fulbright Fellowship. She’s attended Columbia University’s writer’s workshop in Paris, France and the Callaloo Journal of African Diaspora Arts & Letters Creative Writing Workshop at Oxford University. She lives happily in Harlem.
BOOK OF ADDIS: CRADLED EMBERS© SYLLABUS
BY BROOKE C. OBIE, COPYRIGHT 2016
“I woke now, sure enough.” –Taddy
These books, films, musical selections, museums influenced the creation of Book of Addis©.
REPRODUCTIVE JUSTICE AND THE POLITICS OF BLACK MOTHERHOOD
“Put a woman in a tight space, she liable to do anything.” –Dido
“More joy, more love, more time to be more when you aint got to get nobody off your neck.”–The Griot
DECONSTRUCTING WHITE MASCULINE IDEOLOGY AND REIMAGINING BLACK MASCULINITY
“You think cause a no-color man say he own her that she up to be owned?” –Taddy
THE POWER OF WRITING AND SPEAKING IN THE VERNACULAR
“Have your own something.” –The Griot
BLACK PROTEST AND REVOLUTION
“There be sides to this thing.”–The Griot
THE HISTORY OF AFRICANS IN AMERICA
“They kill a oji in flesh or spirit, for the good of the whole, then hide they bloody hands beneath white gloves.” –The Griot
Gates, Henry Louis, Jr. The African Americans: Many Rivers to Cross (book and documentary series).
IGBO AND YORUBA CULTURE
“Eboe be for truth telling.”–The Griot
Isiguzo, Andrew I., George Ukagba and Nkeonye Otakpor, “The Igbo Concept of a Person.” Africa: Rivista trimestrale di studi e documentazione dell’Istituto italiano per l’Africa e l’Oriente Anno 59, No. 2 (Giugno 2004), pp. 231-243.
BOOK OF ADDIS: CRADLED EMBERS©
READERS’ GUIDE & DISCUSSION QUESTIONS
1) What do you think the subtitle Cradled Embers and cover image of a Black woman’s hands holding burning coals mean?
2) Dido reveals that her Eboe name is Ezinne, which means, “Good mother,” and tells her enslaver Ambrose that if he’d known what her name meant, that he “woulda done different by me and mine.” How different are Dido and her daughter Taddy’s definitions of “good” motherhood? What does the similar end result say about how slavery impacts Black motherhood?
3) How do the differences between the way Dido and Taddy seek to protect their children compare to the way Black mothers cope with oppression, even today?
4) The word “menor” is a made-up word with a negative connotation in the BOOK OF ADDIS universe, whereas “oji” is an Igbo word that means “Black” and refers to people in this world. What if any impact did reading a book about slavery without the usual slurs have on you?
5) Dido, Turk and Pompey are the real names of three Igbo people enslaved to James Madison’s grandfather, Ambrose Madison, and were accused of Ambrose Madison’s murder. From armed insurrections, to feigning illnesses and breaking tools to thwart the exploitation of their labor, enslaved people rebelled daily. How much were you taught in school about the many acts of enslaved people’s rebellions in America?
6) Within a system of White Supremacy, anti-Blackness is the degradation of Black people, culture, physical features, hair styles, ways of speaking and ways of being as less than a White standard. How did you feel about reading a story written in a Black vernacular? When you read the words “Black” and “dark” in Book of Addis, what do they signify?
7) Even though Ekwueme has been enslaved, he is able to learn to allow Addis to be her own person and make her own decisions, whereas Tembu, who is a free man living in a free Black community with women leaders, still desires to control Addis. What do these two examples of Black masculinity reveal about what it means to be a man, and a free person?
8) A consistent form of control over Black women’s bodies in America has been forced reproduction. How does Nnene reclaim control over her body after several instances of rape?
9) How did you feel about the way the Meroës handled their fellow villagers who did not want to join the revolution or leave for the Falls?
10) “Your chains aint mine,” Addis tells Sabine. Sabine has trouble finding her place in the revolution whereas Thom is more easily accepted, even if his words are sometimes clumsy. Both desire to align themselves with oppressed Black people. What does Thom understand that allows him the trust Sabine doesn’t readily receive?