In honor of Black History Month, students at Maurice W. Downing Primary School in Malverne received a visit from local author Yvonne Augustin.
Augustin, a resident of Malverne, shared a story from her book “Rag Doll Tales,” a series of five short stories that traces the roots of one family from slavery through civil rights.
As her second-grade audience sat spellbound, Augustin read the opening story of her book, which explained the origins of a special rag doll that was made by a young slave mother as a parting gift to her daughter Natty, who was about to be sold away from her. The doll was named Eugene, after Natty’s father, so she would always remember her roots.
Eugene was passed down through four generations, becoming a source of strength for Natty’s great-great-great granddaughter Chrissie as she faced the challenges of moving from her beloved home in Hamilton, Kan. to start a new life in Chicago.
Nestled in the reading corner of their bright and cozy new library media center, the students listened intently as Augustin, with the rag doll Eugene at her side, weaved her tale of the importance of family, the burden of history and the power of love.