Cover image for Ain't nobody a stranger to me
Ain't nobody a stranger to me
1st ed.
Publication Information:
New York : Jump at the Sun, 2007.
Physical Description:
1 v. (unpaged) : col. ill. ; 29 cm.
Added Author:


Material Type
Call Number
Item Available
Book EASY GRI 1 1
Book EASY GRI 1 1

On Order


Author Notes

Ann Grifalconi is the award-winning illustrator and/or author of over one hundred books for young adult and children, including Darkness and the Butterfly, Osa's Pride, Flyaway Girl and Not Home. Her many citations and awards include a Caldecott Honor for The Village of Round and Square Houses; a Jane Addams Honor for The Village That Vanished , illustrated by Kadir Nelson; and a Jane Addams Award for Patrol , by Walter Dean Myers. She is delighted to be working with Jerry Pinkney, one of her favorite illustrators and a friend, too. Ms. Grifalconi lives and works in New York City, when traveling to Africa, Central America or Asia for intensive research for her varied book projects.

Jerry Pinkney is the illustrator of more than a hundred books for children. His exceptional art has won numerous awards including Caldecott Honors, Coretta Scott King Awards and Honors. He has been recognized with numerous other honors, taught illustration and conducted workshops at universities across the country. Books Mr. Pinkney has illustrated include God Bless the Child , a picture book interpretation of the song first performed by legendary jazz singer Billie Holiday, The Old African , by Julius Lester, and Minty: A Story of Young Harriet Tubman by Alan Schroeder. He has worked on other projects dealing with the Underground Railroad for National Geographic and the National Park Service. Mr Pinkney lives and works in a nineteenth-century carriage house with his wife, author Gloria Jean, and is currently a member of the National Council on the Arts.

Reviews 5

School Library Journal Review

K-Gr 3-In this story set in the early 20th century, a young African-American narrator recalls a special moment shared with her grandfather. As the two walk together, Gran'pa greets passersby with warmth and friendliness. The source of his joy, of course, is freedom; that longing and fulfillment are made tangible through his explanation of the apple seeds he carried in his pocket while still a slave-and the orchard he owns now. He relates the story of his escape, with his wife and infant daughter, describing the kindness and safe passage shown to them by a white farmer, a member of the Underground Railroad. Later, as Gran'pa planted each seed in his own soil, he "thought of someone who'd helped us on our way." Pinkney's signature pencil-and-watercolor earth tones serve well for the escape scenes; his palette lightens with an infusion of pink, and his style becomes looser and more impressionistic as the pair peer into the blossoms at the conclusion. Some of the figural renderings are less successful, and particular perspectives necessitate a foreshortening that appears awkward. While this is not the author's or illustrator's strongest effort, educators in schools and churches will find uses for the Good Samaritan lessons presented throughout.-Wendy Lukehart, Washington DC Public Library (c) Copyright 2010. Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.

Publisher's Weekly Review

This resonant, moving story spotlights both the loving rapport between a girl and her grandfather, and the story of his family's escape to freedom. Grifalconi's (The Village of Round and Square Houses) narrator recalls accompanying her grandfather on a visit to his apple orchard. As the fellow waves hello to every passerby, the youngster asks how he knows so many people. He replies, "Don't know 'em by name--just by heart, Honey.... Ain't nobody a stranger to me!" And to her question, "Why's that, Gran'pa?" he responds, " 'Cause both me and my heart is free." The tale then travels back to a darker time, and Pinkney's bright palette similarly dims to sepia tones. The grandfather explains that, as a slave, he had carried apple seeds in his pockets that he planned to save for the day he could plant them in his own soil. But one day he realized that that wouldn't happen " 'til we struck out for freedom ourselves!" He and his wife ran away with their baby--the narrator's mother--and escaped across the Ohio River with the help of a member of the Underground Railroad. Pinkney's (The Old African) shadow-filled paintings depict their harrowing journey, and give way to glorious color as the man and his granddaughter reach his apple orchard in full bloom. The trees' luminous pink hues offer a stunning testimony to the power of those prophetic seeds. In a poignant finale, the girl then plants seeds of her own--a "seed of memory." An inspired collaboration. Ages 5-9. (Apr.) (c) Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved

Horn Book Review

An elderly man tells his granddaughter the story of his escape from slavery and explains why his apple orchard is a symbol of the help he received from strangers. Pinkney's expansive illustrations effectively portray the dark days of slavery and contrast them to the sunny pink of the apple orchard and freedom. The book was inspired by a true story. (c) Copyright 2010. The Horn Book, Inc., a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted. All rights reserved.

Kirkus Review

In this moving testimonial, an old man eloquently recalls escaping from slavery with a few apple seeds in his pocket, as he and his young granddaughter stroll out to the lushly flowering orchard that has since grown from them. To the child's question about why he waves to everyone they meet, Gran'pa utters the title line, and then explains how his journey to freedom--undertaken with his wife, their baby and unlooked-for help from members of the Underground Railroad--led him to feel that way ever since he and his family "got through." "I been on both sides. When somebody falls down, what kind of man gonna stop 'n' say: 'I don't pick up no stranger! Let 'em lie there'? Leastways, not me!" Painting in an impressionistic vein and expertly capturing the couple's intimacy, Pinkney alternates brightly colored, semi-rural scenes with flashbacks in dark browns and grays, then closes with a tender caress awash in pink blossoms. The title is actually a quote, and though here it's taken out of context and, in the author's note, incorrectly attributed to a man, it makes a powerful statement across racial lines, nationalities and generations. (Picture book. 7-9) Copyright ©Kirkus Reviews, used with permission.

Booklist Review

An exciting Underground Railroad escape is detailed in this handsome picture book, framed by the title's message of community and connection. A former slave takes his small granddaughter to his apple orchard, and when she asks how come he waves hello to everyone, he answers that he knows them not by name, but by heart. He talks to her of slavery times, when he carried apple seeds in his pocket and dreamed of planting them in his own soil. Then he escaped with his wife and baby (the grandchild's mama), and he describes how a brave white man, Quaker James Stanton, helped them cross the Ohio River to freedom. Pinkney's watercolor double-paged spreads contrast the sepia-toned gloom of slavery and hiding with the abundant light-filled apple orchard today. Final notes explain the story's roots in the life of Orleans Finger, who told his story as part of the Federal Writers' Project in 1937. Caught by the action, children will hear Finger's shining words across time, race, and generations. --Hazel Rochman Copyright 2007 Booklist