We’ve all had the units in school where they talk about the economic, social and political impact of slavery in the history of the U.S. This story is a look at slavery through the eyes of thirteen-year-old Isabel and her young “simple” sister, Ruth. Imagine knowing you have been freed by your owner’s will, but finding yourself powerless to overcome a miscarriage of justice, and being sold to a vindictive couple back in the early days of the American Revolution. That’s the setting and the situation in this, the second Laurie Halse Anderson book to be nominated for the National Book Award. Day after day and night after night, Isabel labors in very difficult physical and emotional circumstances.
The feeling of being treated as less than human comes roaring through, and you experience for yourself that sense of powerlessness and lack of human dignity. Isabel has to submit because she needs to protect her “simple” sister Ruth and fears being separated from her. Isabel is also caught up in the rebellion of the times in which she lives and is encouraged by a young slave, Curzon, to join in and do her part by spying for the rebels. War comes to her doorstep and brings her choices. Laurie Halse Anderson really has a passion for American History and loves delving into the old letters and papers to bring validity to her work. It’s gut-wrenching and heartbreaking stuff.
336 pages 978-1416905868 Ages 11-15
Keywords: historical fiction, slavery, Black Lives Matter, 18th century, freedom, grit, 11 year old, 12 year old, 13 year old, 14 year old, 15 year old, girls and women
Recommended by: Barb Langridge, abookandahug.com