Someone Knows My Name

Someone Knows My Name

Book - 2007 | 1st American edition
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Dreaming of escaping her life of slavery in South Carolina and returning to her African home, slave Aminata Diallo is thrown into the chaos of the Revolutionary War, during which she helps create a list of black people who have been honored for their service to the king.
Publisher: New York : W.W. Norton & Company, 2007
Edition: 1st American edition
ISBN: 9780393065787
Characteristics: 486 pages ; 25 cm


From Library Staff

Won the 2008 Commonwealth Writers’ Prize for Best Book ; the
2007 Rogers Writers’ Trust Fiction Prize; and the 2008 Evergreen Award from the Ontario Library Association. • Kidnapped as a child from Africa, Aminata Diallo is enslaved in South Carolina but escapes during the chaos of the Revoluti... Read More »

From the critics

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Mar 05, 2020

The book “The Book of Negros” by Lawernce Hill is based on a true story and tells the story of Aminata. Aminata is a young girl who is abducted at 11 and is a witness of the slave revolt. The book talks about the hardships she goes through. This book was easy to read and the plot was long but enjoyable. The dialogue never seems to get stale. The main character, Aminata, is a very powerful character that you get very immersed in. Although, containing some mature parts, I believe this book is great for teenagers. It is informative, has great immersion and introduces many new styles of plot. This book really captures the reader's attention with it’s emotional appeal. I had an emotional roller coaster reading this book. This book has a lot of commitment required. The plot is very clear, and extremely understandable. This book gets 4 out of 5 stars from me. It was a wonderful and powerful story that really allowed for an emotional response as a reader.
@TheRomanV of the Hamilton Public Library's Teen Review Board

Nov 26, 2019

Fantastic saga!

I read this book as part of a book club. It tells the story of Aminata Diallo from the time she is taken from her village in Africa till the time of her death in London. In between she lives as a slave in South Carolina, an escaped slave in New York during the American Revolution, a Black Loyalist in Nova Scotia, a settler in Sierra Leone, and finally a speaker against slavery in London. It is a compelling journey of her life through history, and well-worth a read. (submitted by SC)

Dec 02, 2017

The book of Negros is a hit. In fact, I couldn't put it down from the start. This really annoyed my wife. I also watched the show from CBC which was so boring and mostly missing the key events that was mentioned in the book. I really recommend this book for everyone to read regardless of their race. the Main character , Amina Dilayo stunned me , she was an intelligent young women despite all of the turmoil she went through, she never lost faith in God.

Jun 15, 2017

Excellent book covering the slave trade; very moving read.

Apr 01, 2017

Read this book!

Feb 20, 2017

The book was really good but I found I just couldn't connect with the main character, she didn't feel real to me. It felt as though the author wanted her to be part of all these main events of history and rushed her story through it, as one of the previous reviews said - it was as though she was floating through these things and they were't really happening to her. I wasn't aware of Birchtown or Freetown previous to this and I really found those parts fascinating.

Jul 21, 2016

I read Lawrence Hill's "The Book of Negroes" for the 2016 Ottawa Public Library Reading Challenge, under the category of a Canada Reads selection. The book was the winner of Canada Reads in 2009. I also watched the CBC's production of The Book of Negroes a couple of years ago. I highly recommend both the book and the TV series. Hill's writing style and method of storytelling are phenomenal.

Apr 20, 2016

As excellent a book as you will ever read...highly recommended.

Feb 14, 2016

I didn't really like this book. Aminata didn't seem like a real person and her character had a really masculine feel. Her character felt like a man trying to write as a woman. It touches on some really interesting aspects of Canadian history though, and is still worth a read.

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violet_kangaroo_106 thinks this title is suitable for 15 years and over

Mar 19, 2014

purplecow03 thinks this title is suitable for 16 years and over

Jan 10, 2011

chris319 thinks this title is suitable for 16 years and over

Aug 16, 2010

mbazal thinks this title is suitable for 16 years and over

Apr 28, 2010

JPearce thinks this title is suitable for 14 years and over

Oct 24, 2008

Tired_Mama thinks this title is suitable for 16 years and over


Add a Quote
Jul 06, 2016

Aminata Diallo: "Do not trust large bodies of water, and do not cross them. If you, dear reader, have an African hue and find yourself led toward water with vanishing shores, seize your freedom by any means necessary" (Hill 7).

Jul 06, 2016

Aminata Diallo: "Some say that I was once uncommonly beautiful, but I wouldn't wish beauty on any woman who has not her own freedom, and chooses not the hands that claim her" (Hill 4).

Jul 06, 2016

Aminata Diallo: " I have wondrously beautiful hands. I like to put them on things. I like to feel the bark on trees, the hair on children's heads, and before my time is up, I would like to place those hands on a good man's body, if the occasion arises" (Hill 6).

Jerath Aug 30, 2013

"When it comes to understanding others, we rarely tax our imaginations." -Aminata Diallo

Aug 16, 2010

"I have escaped violent endings even as they have surrounded me. But I never had the privilege of holding onto my children living with him, raising them the way my own parents raised me for ten or eleven years until all of our lives were torn asunder." - Aminata Diallo


Add Notices
Aug 16, 2010

Sexual Content: This title contains Sexual Content.

Aug 16, 2010

Violence: This title contains Violence.


Add a Summary
Aug 16, 2010

Lawrence Hill's fictional biography, The Book of Negroes, grabs the reader from the first sentence. Aminata Diallo lives in the village of Bayo in West Africa and, because her mother and father come from different groups, speaks both their languages. In 1745, at eleven years old, Aminata is stolen from her village by slavers and marched three months westward to the Atlantic Ocean. Once there, she is placed on a slave ship and transported to South Carolina where she is sold to an indigo producer.

The girl endures hellish conditions both in the slave ship and on the indigo plantation, but is finally sold to a family her takes her to the infant city of New York. Aminata never loses her determination to escape captivity and to return to her village, but her life leads her into paths that she cannot predict.

Hill not only tells a fascinating story, he also presents a very readable history of the conditions and economic levers driving slavery. The book takesthe reader across continents, oceans, and countries, as well as through the factors that forced Britain to outlaw slavery at home and in its colonies.

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