Lavon Traeye Ms. LaskowskiEnglish 318 November 2017The Heart Calls Home “The Heart Calls” is a story that took place during the Civil War about a former slave Obi Booker who tries to make a new life on a South Carolina island while waiting to be joined by his beloved Easter, who is studying in the North. Obi met two people that he really loved, Easter the girl he fell in love with and Jason, the child who lived in captivity with them on the Jennings farm. It’s the spring of 1866 in South Carolina and Obi spends his break from the Union Army searching for the only family he’s ever known. In that search and his journey, Obi learns the hard way that reunions don’t come easily in this time of Reconstruction; People are moving, names are changing, and racism is thriving. With Obi ignoring the advice of his army friends to give up his hunt and move west with them, Obi dedicates himself to his search for Easter and Jason; He feels that it may be his journey to freedom. Throughout Obi’s journey, he struggles to care for Grace, Scipio, and Araba, three orphans who fled a massacre in Pine Bluff, Arkansas, a black town destroyed by whites. He later then finds Easter’s friends on the island of Santa Elena and learns that she has gone north to be educated as a teacher while Jason is performing in a traveling medicine show. Obi and Easter reconnect via letters; he begs her to return to marry him, and she reminds him of their people’s need for teachers. This is an illustration on the author’s talented ability to capture the mood of this time of conflict and troubled in our country’s history. This story illustrates a story of a young man’s quest for family, direction, and security in this insecure and unfamiliar world. The story is mainly told in letters between Obi and Easter, as Obi fights storms, disease, and racialism while he builds a carpentry business. Things just get worse and worse day by day with property and lives still being threatened by forces of nature, a rising black politician is assassinated, and Obi ends up building more coffins than homes. His love for Easter and her determination to help build New Canaan helps Obi to find his place in life. Hansen, the author, cautiously introduce real historical events into the novel, presenting a thorough account of a black settlement during Reconstruction. Unlike Out from This Place, in which a white teacher befriends Easter, this book presents a rather negative view of whites. Still, development of the main characters is good, clearly demonstrating the powerful strength of people united in love and caring. This book educates us and takes us through the journey of how Obi and Easter face the opportunities of Reconstruction and the roadblocks of prejudice. When Obi discovers they may be on the Sea Islands, he heads for New Canaan, where he begins the long, painful process of establishing a home for them. Hansen doesn’t gloss over the horrors of the Reconstruction in the South (Obi adopts three children who have witnessed the hanging of the residents of Pine Bluff, including their own mother), she weaves a story of courage and hope that illustrates the strength and resilience of former slaves across the South after the Civil War. Works CitedHansen, Joyce, and Mimi Bederman. The heart calls home. 2002.Hansen, Joyce, et al. “The Heart Calls Home.” The Heart Calls Home by Joyce Hansen, www.goodreads.com/book/show/598186.The_Heart_Calls_Home.Hansen, Joyce. “THE HEART CALLS HOME by Joyce Hansen.” Kirkus Reviews, www.kirkusreviews.com/book-reviews/joyce-hansen/the-heart-calls-home/.”The Heart Calls Home by Joyce Hansen | Scholastic.” Scholastic Publishes Literacy Resources and Children’s Books for Kids of All Ages, www.scholastic.com/teachers/books/the-heart-calls-home-by-joyce-hansen/.