Time's Memory
Time's Memory
Time's Memory
Julius Lester
Amma is the creator god, the master of life and death, and he is worried. His people have always known how to take care of the spirits of the dead – the nyama – so that they don’t become destructive forces among the living. But amid the chaos of the African slave trade and the brutality of American slavery, too many of his people are dying and their souls are being ignored in this new land. Amma sends a young man, Ekundayo, to a plantation in Virginia where he becomes a slave on the eve of the Civil War. Amma hopes that Ekundayo will be able to find a way to bring peace to the nyama before it is too late. But Ekundayo can see only sorrow in this land – sorrow in the ownership of people, in the slaves who have been separated from their children and spouses, in the restless spirits of the dead, and in his own forbidden relationship with his master’s daughter.How Ekundayo finds a way to bring peace to both the dead and the living makes this an unforgettable journey into the slave experience and Julius Lester’s most powerful work to date. Time's Memory is a 2007 Bank Street - Best Children's Book of the Year.

Book Details


  • Fiction
  • Historical Fiction

Age Level: 

  • 12 and up
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Josiah, a white captain of a slave ship, agrees to help Amina, a black slave on one of his ships, in order to calm a storm. Amina is pregnant with Ekundayo, the spirit, or nyama, of her dead father. Josiah sneaks Amina off of his ship and takes her to his home, where she gives birth to Ekundayo as a young man. But Ekundayo dies shortly after and his nyama is transported into the body of Nat, a slave on a Virginia plantation.

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