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Seven Spools of Thread : A Kwanzaa Story
Medearis, Angela; Seven Spools of Thread : A Kwanzaa Story. Morton Grove, Illinois: Albert Whitman, 2000. $15.95, ISBN 807573159.

Note: When they are given the seemingly impossible task of turning thread into gold, the seven Ashanti brothers put aside their differences, learn to get along, and embody the principles of Kwanzaa. Includes information on Kwanzaa, West African cloth weaving,

After the death of his wife, an old Ghanaian man becomes mother
and father to his seven quarrelsome sons. When the old man dies,
the village Chief summons all seven sons and mentions the
inheritance their father has left them. Each son boastfully
proclaims that he is the sole beneficiary of their father's
estate. A belligerent scene erupts. The chief quells the
disturbance by announcing that their father has equally divided
his estate among them and that they must work cooperatively to
earn their share. Together they must make gold from seven
spools of thread, each a different color: blue, red, yellow,
orange, green, black, and white. For the first time in their
lives, the brothers work together, argue positively and
objectively about issues, and produce outstandingly beautiful
pieces of multicolored cloth. The king's treasurer buys the
cloth with one bag of gold.

The book is an amazingly wonderful way to teach the significance
of the seven principles in our daily lives and the lives of
those around us. The story challenges readers to find all seven
principles or the Nguzo Saba, i.e. Umoja (unity), Kujichagulia
(self-determination), Ujima (collective work and
responsibility), Ujamaa (co-operative economics), Nia (purpose),
Kuumba (creativity), and Imani (faith).

_Seven Spools of Thread_ is a tremendously resourceful way to
educate people of all ages about Kwanzaa. An African proverb, an
introduction and explanation of Kwanzaa, the description of the
seven principles, the process of cloth weaving in Ghana, and a
step-by-step guide to weaving cloth to make a belt are among the
rich resources that make Medearis' book a gold mine of
information. The text is easy to read and to follow. Medearis'
words and Minter's delightful illustrations demonstrate a true
understanding of Kwanzaa by both author and illustrator. A
poetic, musical text that is almost audible sends readers on a
journey that truly leads to unity, self determination,
collaborative work, and the various other facets of Kwanzaa. The
story depicts how by working together, even in the modern
condition in Ghana, people can enhance their own economic
situation, improve societal values, and provide an example of
how group work can produce end results that benefit the entire
society in the long run. The Ghanaian proverb "Two heads are
better than one" becomes even more meaningful in the story. The
youngest son's question "What about the poor people in the
village ... we receive an inheritance, but what will they do?"
is a strong message about how community work can improve the
lives of all in society. Classroom teachers will find the book
to be one of the best resources on this important African
American holiday. All types of libraries, especially school and
pubic, must add _Seven Spools of Thread_ to their collection.

Copyright 2001 by H-Net, all rights reserved. H-Net permits the
redistribution and reprinting of this work for nonprofit,
educational purposes, with full and accurate attribution to the
author, web location, date of publication, originating list, and
H-Net: Humanities & Social Sciences Online. For other uses
contact the Reviews editorial staff: hbooks@mail.h-net.msu.edu.

Rating: HR Grade: P / E Type: Book

Reviewed by: H-AfrTeach by Kwasi Sarkodie-Mensah , O'Neill Library, Boston College

Subject: Black author / Kwanzaa / Fiction / Kente / Ghana / Asante / West Africa