Lifelines: The Black Book of Proverbs

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Broadway Books, 2009 - Literary Collections - 227 pages
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This little book contains the wisdom of the ages, and is guaranteed to produce a smile of appreciation at the sheer sense of the proverbs you will find inside. From advice you wish your mother had given you, to things you probably suspected, but had never put into words, Lifelinesis a book to be read, absorbed and treasured.—Pearl Cleage, New York Times best selling author of What Looks Like Crazy On An Ordinary Day

This illustrated treasury of proverbs unites the timeless wisdom of Black communities in Africa, the Caribbean, and the Americas, while speaking to the triumphs and challenges of everyday life.

Lifelines: The Black book of Proverbs travels to all corners of the globe to reclaim and preserve African wisdom. This book offers the remarkably wise heart of Africa and her children to readers experiencing career changes, new births, weddings, death, and other rites of passage. Readers will find truth in the African saying, “When the occasion arises, there is a proverb to suit it.”

Proverbs are presented in vibrant story-poem form; and are uniquely arranged by key life cycle events such as birth, initiation, marriage, and death. The proverbs can be found under themes such as “wealth”, “parenting”, “change” and “strength.” Inspired illustrations introduce each section along with beautiful vignettes showing how African proverbs comfort, inspire and instruct during different phases of life.

Lifelines illuminates how traditions, civilization and spirit survive and thrive, despite centuries of loss of freedom, family, identity, language, land, and wealth. The proverbs offer wisdom for every stage of our lives. Collected in one place as never before, it is the perfect addition to the book shelves of families large and small, from Nairobi to New Orleans and every city in between.

From Birth:
Every cackling hen was an egg at first.
to Marriage:

A woman's clothes are the price her husband pays for peace.
-Central Africa, East Africa, and Southern Africa (Bantu)
and Elderhood:
Every time an old man dies it is as if a library has burnt down.
-West Africa

as well as every stage of life in between, the proverbs found in Lifelines offer the guidance and wisdom to last a life time.

Unlike other collections of proverbs, Lifelines hews closely to the cycle of life and draws inspiration from the authors combined 110 years of experience. Askhari Johnson Hodari and Yvonne McCalla Sobers have set out to let their proverbs both tell a story and stand alone. So whether you flip it open to a random page, read it through from start to finish, or go searching for a proverb to match your unique circumstance, you’ll find just the right lifeline to provide the comfort and guidance you’re looking for.

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About the author (2009)

Yvonne McCalla Sobers
Yvonne McCalla Sobers is a Jamaican living in her home island where she received her university education. She added to her store of proverbs during the four years she lived among Ghanaians who spoke Ga, Ewe, Akan, and Hausa. She was frequently amazed to hear Ghanaians use proverbs that felt as culturally familiar as ackee and saltfish cooked in coconut oil over a wood fire in her grandmothers’ kitchens. She is author of Delicious Jamaica! Vegetarian Cuisine (Book Publishing Company) and is the mother of grown twin sons.

Askhari Johnson Hodari
Askhari Johnson Hodari, a practitioner of Black/Africana Studies regularly studies and travels the African diaspora. She has visited numerous countries in Africa, Central and South America and the Caribbean. Hodari received her B.A. from Spelman College, and her doctorate from Howard University. She is the author of The African Book of Names (Health Communications, Inc., February 2009).

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