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47
Cover of 47
47
Master storyteller Walter Mosley deftly mixes speculative and historical fiction in this daring New York Times bestselling novel, reminiscent of Colson Whitehead's The Underground Railroad.
47 is a young slave boy living under the watchful eye of a brutal slave master. His life seems doomed until he meets a mysterious runaway slave, Tall John. 47 finds himself swept up in a struggle for his own liberation.
Master storyteller Walter Mosley deftly mixes speculative and historical fiction in this daring New York Times bestselling novel, reminiscent of Colson Whitehead's The Underground Railroad.
47 is a young slave boy living under the watchful eye of a brutal slave master. His life seems doomed until he meets a mysterious runaway slave, Tall John. 47 finds himself swept up in a struggle for his own liberation.
Available formats-
  • OverDrive Read
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Copies-
  • Available:
    0
  • Library copies:
    1
Levels-
  • ATOS:
    5.3
  • Lexile:
    860
  • Interest Level:
    MG+
  • Text Difficulty:
    4 - 5

Recommended for you

About the Author-
  • Walter Mosley is the author of the acclaimed Easy Rawlins and Fearless Jones series of mysteries, as well as numerous other works of fiction and nonfiction. He has won the Anisfield-Wolf award, a Grammy Award, and in 2004 received a PEN USA lifetime achievement award. He was born in Los Angeles and lives in New York.
Reviews-
  • DOGO Books Mr. Sanchez - its a really good book it tells about a boy growing up as a slave and how he went from doing nothen to picking cotton and later in the book he finds a boy that goes by the name tall john and he tell him that he has been waiting for him and that he can help get slaves free and they even have a guy that looks after them he goes by mud Albert i like this book a lot and want to read more by this author
  • Publisher's Weekly

    Starred review from May 16, 2005
    This thought-provoking, genre-bending account of one slave's emancipation, Mosley's (Fear Itself
    ) first book for young adults, makes for harrowing reading. The narrator, called simply by his number, 47, recalls his life as an enslaved teen on a Georgia plantation in 1832, occasionally interjecting the wisdom he has gleaned in the intervening years. At the "most likely" age of 14 ("Slaves... didn't have ages like the white people did," he explains), 47 is sent to the fields to pick cotton. His life in the slave quarters begins with having his number literally branded on his shoulder in a brutal scene, which palpably captures the cruelty of the period. Mosley's novel is more than a work of historical fiction, however—47 starts off by explaining that these events "happened over a hundred and seventy years ago," and hints that something supernatural is coming. It arrives in the person of "Tall John from beyond Africa," who masquerades as a runaway from a neighboring farm, but who is, in fact, an extraterrestrial searching the galaxy for 47. Those familiar with African-American folklore will recognize him as a variant of High John the Conqueror, a spirit who ultimately sets the slaves free. "Neither master nor nigger be," Tall John repeatedly tells 47, who must unlearn a lifetime of subservience in order to grasp the nature of freedom and its relationship to responsibility. Equal parts history and tall tale, this engaging story related by an endearing narrator is so full of dramatic tension that few readers will realize they're learning something, too. Ages 12-up.

  • School Library Journal

    June 1, 2005
    Gr 7-10 -The intense, personal slave narrative of 14-year-old Forty-seven becomes allegorical when a mysterious runaway slave shows up at the Corinthian Plantation. Tall John, who believes there are no masters and no slaves, and who carries a yellow carpet bag of magical healing potions and futuristic devices, is both an inspiration and an enigma. He claims he has crossed galaxies and centuries and arrived by Sun Ship on Earth in 1832 to find the one chosen to continue the fight against the evil Calash. The brutal white overseer and the cruel slave owner are disguised Calash who must be defeated. Tall John inserts himself into Forty-seven's daily life and gradually cedes to him immortality and the power, confidence, and courage to confront the Calash to break the chains of slavery. With confidence, determination, and craft, Tall John becomes Forty-seven's alter ego, challenging him and inspiring him to see beyond slavery and fight for freedom. Time travel, shape-shifting, and intergalactic conflict add unusual, provocative elements to this story. And yet, well-drawn characters; lively dialogue filled with gritty, regional dialect; vivid descriptions; and poignant reflections ground it in harsh reality. Older readers will find the blend of realism, escapism, and science fiction intriguing." -Gerry Larson, Durham School of the Arts, NC"

    Copyright 2005 School Library Journal, LLC Used with permission.

  • Booklist

    April 15, 2005
    Gr. 7-10. In his first YA book, acclaimed mystery writer Mosley tells a stirring story of escape from slavery in which sf and African American myth blend with the realism of plantation brutality and the courage of resistance. A boy today remembers himself as a 14-year-old slave named 47, living in Georgia in 1832. He recalls being chained, branded, and whipped until the runaway Tall John inspires him to fulfill his destiny and lead his people to freedom. Like the mythical figure High John the Conqueror, the runaway comes from "beyond Africa," and he shows the boy the secrets of the universe. Above all, 47 takes in Tall John's repeated lesson ("Neither master nor nigger be"), which is finally what sets him free. The magical realism allows for some plot contrivance, but Mosley brings the harsh facts and anguish very close, and the first-person narrative shows and tells how "slavery is the most unbelievable part of this whole story."(Reprinted with permission of Booklist, copyright 2005, American Library Association.)

  • Booklist

    May 1, 2005
    Gr. 7-10. In his first YA book, acclaimed mystery writer Mosley tells a stirring story of escape from slavery in which sf and African American myth blend with the realism of plantation brutality and the courage of resistance. A boy today remembers himself as a 14-year-old slave named 47, living in Georgia in 1832. He recalls being chained, branded, and whipped until the runaway Tall John inspires him to fulfill his destiny and lead his people to freedom. Like the mythical figure High John the Conqueror, the runaway comes from "beyond Africa," and he shows the boy the secrets of the universe. Above all, 47 takes in Tall John's repeated lesson ("Neither master nor nigger be"), which is finally what sets him free. The magical realism allows for some plot contrivance, but Mosley brings the harsh facts and anguish very close, and the first-person narrative shows and tells how "slavery is the most unbelievable part of this whole story."(Reprinted with permission of Booklist, copyright 2005, American Library Association.)

Title Information+
  • Publisher
    Little, Brown Books for Young Readers
  • OverDrive Read
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