Willow By Tonya Cherie Hegamin

Book Report By Savannah Lewter~ 2014

About the Author & the Book

Tonya Cherie Hegamin is a writer of fiction books. Growing up she coped with the feeling of being an outcast by writing about her interesting childhood. Her goal, as an adult writer, was to make a connection with her audience and to make someone feel included. Hegamin's book, Willow, describes vivid details about what it was like to be a slave during the 1800's. In her dedication she states, "to remind us just how much history repeats itself." This indicates that were need to be cautious of how we play a role in history. She was the writer of M+O4ever and Most Loved In All the World was given a New Writer Award.

Throughout the book, the characters mention their belief in God and how significant he is to their lives. In the text Ryder states, "We are but lowly servants of the Lord and will be rewarded for our burdens and toil in heaven" (page 18) This shows that the African American slaves had a positive outlook upon their adversity. Religion was an important aspect within each individual's lives because it gave them hope for freedom.
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This book is a collection of journal entries written by Willow herself. Her mother and Grandmother died when she was younger, leaving her with her father on the plantation of Knotwild in Maryland. Those slaves who resided in Knotwild were very fortunate. The owner, Jefferson Jeffries (also known as "Rev Jeff"), treated his workers with immense respect and love. It was known that he treated Willow and her father as family. Rev Jeff taught Willow how to read and write, which was considered very dangerous during this time. Willow's father state in the book, "If the wrong folk found out, I could be hanged for it!" (Page 23). He says this to willow when she was describing her passion for reading. I feel like he stressed the fact that reading was very dangerous because he wanted to protect his daughter from possible death. This statement tell us a lot about Willows character. This tells that she strives for education and is brave for risking her life on a dream.
Lastly, another important aspect of this story is being appreciative. During slavery, majority of slaves lived tragic lives. In this particular scenario the leader of Knotwild, Rev Jeff, is shows a mass amount of love for his slaves. He treats them like family and loves them as if they were. There is a event in this book that demonstrates this theme very well. Ryder had a plantation meeting with all the members of the land. He states, "We should all be greateful just for that. Especially us at Knotwild, who have it so good"(Page 43). This quote is a detailed description of how well the slaves have life there.

Historical Reference

The overall reference throughout this story is slavery. The plot is about a teenage girl and her experiences as a slave. Although this wasn't based on a true story, it is made very realistic through descriptive words. Willow describes how harmful plantation owners were to their slaves, the hard labor, and how their systems worked.

Main conflit

There is many conflict within this story, but the most immense conflict was internally with Willow. She is introduced to a 17 year old, free born African American named Cato. This boys mission was to help lead slaves to freedom. After hurting his ankle in a rabbit hole, Cato is forced to stay in the woods until he heals. During this time, he discovers Willow's journal and reads her entries. He tries to persuade her to travel to the free land with him. Willow contemplates this, but decides that she cannot abandon her father considering he had no one personal to his life.


I believe that this book is an appropriate book for a teenage audience. This story has wonderful imagery and makes the plot seem very believable. I would recommend this book to anyone who is interested in the historical aspect of slavery.