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Book Review: The Invisible Princess

In my quest to read more diverse books to my child, I was recommended The Invisible Princess by Faith Ringgold. So, I placed a hold at the library and waited a day for it to be available. We are a household that LOVES our library and I'm so thankful for their curbside service during this pandemic.

I'm giving this book 4 out of 5 stars.

Firstly, I absolutely love the illustrations in this book. It wasn’t a book that could keep my toddler interested and engaged from page to page, though. It is a picture book with plenty of text that would be more suitable for upper elementary grades.

Secondly, the Christian mysticism is not just hinted at but it’s apparent and striking throughout. The slaves get stung by bees, eat honey cakes, and ascend “up, up, up above” to live in peace. The slave owner repents and begs to be stung by the bees so that he may also go to The Invisible Village of Peace, Love, and Freedom.

I can’t help but to be reminded of the common, proslavery explanation that it was through divine means that Africans were brought to the United States to be slaves and thus also be exposed to Christianity and, finally, truly saved. Of course, many slaves adopted Christian beliefs and practices and it was through the practice of the religion that their hope in freedom was profound. It is not lost to history that the same religion used to enslave them also provided solace.

So, if you’re keen on taking a journey down this lane, go ahead and pick up The Invisible Princess. Because I can promise you that you will spend the entire day reading and rereading, researching and questioning, wondering and asking, “How is the religion that Captain Pepper (surely) used to enslave these people the same religion that promised (and provided) the slaves with the freedom they desperately craved?”

You will ponder about forgiveness for an hour.

You’ll search for more reviews and articles written by those with more knowledge on the subject than you.

I think it’s been beneficial for me to have read this book but I definitely have more questions than before I picked it up.


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