This illustrated children's book follows a young girl who visits the former site of the Africville community in Halifax and looks back on its history through her family's stories.

Shauntay Grant, illustrated by Eva Campbell

When a young girl visits the site of Africville, in Halifax, N.S., the stories she's heard from her family come to mind. She imagines what the community was once like — the brightly painted houses nestled into the hillside, the field where boys played football, the pond where all the kids went rafting, the bountiful fishing, the huge bonfires. Coming out of her reverie, she visits the present-day park and the sundial where her great grandmother's name is carved in stone, and celebrates a summer day at the annual Africville Reunion/Festival.

Africville was a vibrant Black community for more than 150 years. But even though its residents paid municipal taxes, they lived without running water, sewers, paved roads and police, fire-truck and ambulance services. Over time, the city located a slaughterhouse, a hospital for infectious disease and even the city garbage dump nearby. In the 1960s, city officials decided to demolish the community, moving people out in city dump trucks and relocating them in public housing.

Today, Africville has been replaced by a park, where former residents and their families gather each summer to remember their community. (From Groundwood Books)

Africville was on the 2018 Governor General's Literary Award shortlist for young people's literature — illustrated books and the 2019 Marilyn Baillie Picture Book Award.

Shauntay Grant is a Canadian writer and performance artist based in Halifax. Her other books for children include Up Home and My Hair is Beautiful.

Eva Campbell is an artist and teacher from Victoria. Her work has been exhibited around the world, including in Canada, the U.S., the U.K., Barbados and Ghana.

From the book

An interior image from Africville, illustrated by Eva Campbell and written by Shauntay Grant. (Eva Campbell/Groundwood Books)

Interviews with Shauntay Grant

Shauntay Grant talks to Shelagh Rogers about her picture book, Africville.

Other books by Shauntay Grant

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