Seven Spools of Thread
A Kwanzaa Story
Angela Shelf Medearis
Illustrated by Daniel Minter
Albert Whitman & Company, 2000
From the dust jacket: “In an African village live seven brothers who make family life miserable with their constant fighting. When their father dies, he leaves an unusual will: by sundown the brothers must make gold out of seven spools of colored thread. If they fail, they will be left with no inheritance and turned out as beggars. Using Nguzo Saba, or “seven principles,” of Kwanzaa, Angela Shelf Medearis has written an unforgettable story that demonstrates how family members can pull together, for their own good and the good of the entire community.”
Can you imagine living in a house where there is constant fighting? I know it would drive me crazy and I wouldn’t like it very much. The family in this story, seven brothers fight about everything – from the weather to food portions to farming. It’s a shame that the only reason they stop is because their father died. This is just one of the many lessons the reader can take from this story. Like Jesus’ parables and Aesop’s fables, this tale is one to think about and discuss, not just read and put the book back on the shelf. It is an excellent, yet simply told tale of family and unity.
The print is small and the story is long so it might not be good for early readers. But for the experienced readers they would enjoy reading it to themselves or their younger siblings. The woodcut illustrations are amazing and full of bright colors. They are a definite labor of love.