My Name is Not Angelica
By Scott O'Dell
Paperback, 144 pages
Published September 1st 1990 by Yearling (first published 1989)
Recently in my daughter's book club they read and discussed this charming young adult novel by Scott O'Dell. Set in the 1730s, Raisha is daughter of a king of an African tribe and engaged to be married to Konje. She and many of her tribe are stolen and crowdedly boarded on a slave ship, from which many don't survive. They disembark at St. John, Virgin Islands and Raisha becomes Angelica, a house slave.
Based on true events, My Name is Not Angelica is an accessible for the topics historical slavery. It recounts the true Slave Revolt of 1733 in St. John from a first-person perspective.
Looking over O'Dell's library, he frequently features young female protagonists. This makes his books especially fun for girls like my daughters to read. I'm sure young men would enjoy the books too.
My girls liked it so much and it sparked such great discussion that I picked the same book for my book club!
The character of Raisha showed maturity beyond her years, that of a child being forced to grow up quickly to survive. No doubt this trait happens frequently now. While racial slavery such as dramatized in O'Dell's novel isn't prominent anymore in our world, slavery still exists in nearly every country. Trafficking for sex or drugs, forced marriage, household service, agricultural labor, and many other forms of slavery exist and thrive. No doubt young men and women have to "grow up fast" to merely survive their circumstances.
I'd recommend My Name is Not Angelica for youth ten and older, depending on the child's maturity. Also entertaining for adults of all ages!