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Summer Reading 2020: ◦ The Water Dancer

Here's why Amy chose The Water Dancer...

The Water Dancer is a beautiful fictional tale of the Underground Railroad.  It looks at the power of those who resisted the institution of slavery.  As those who took Making with me, I highly recommend it, and if you are going to be in Making America next year, it is a relevant novel to read. 

About the book

The Water Dancer
by Ta-Nehisi Coastes

undefinedYoung Hiram Walker was born into bondage. When his mother was sold away, Hiram was robbed of all memory of her — but was gifted with a mysterious power. Years later, when Hiram almost drowns in a river, that same power saves his life. This brush with death births an urgency in Hiram and a daring scheme: to escape from the only home he’s ever known.
So begins an unexpected journey that takes Hiram from the corrupt grandeur of Virginia’s proud plantations to desperate guerrilla cells in the wilderness, from the coffin of the deep South to dangerously utopic movements in the North. Even as he’s enlisted in the underground war between slavers and the enslaved, Hiram’s resolve to rescue the family he left behind endures.


"Coates balances the horrors of slavery against the fantastical. He extends the idea of the gifts of the disenfranchised to include a kind of superpower...In Coates’s world, an embrace can be a revelation, rare and astonishing." The New York Times Book Review

The author's statement on reparations

About the readers

 Amy Argenal, History

Amy previously recommended:

  • Between the World and Me by Ta-Nehisi Coates
  • The Monk of Mokha by Dave Eggers