Sarah was only four years old when slave traders arrived in her Africanvillage, killed her mother, captured the rest of the town and boarded everyoneon ships to work as slaves in the United States. The novel opens in 1821 with Sarah describing her life on the plantation as she picks cotton, works in the main house minding children, teaches herself to read [an activity forbidden by most masters] and falls in love with her brother’s friend, John. When the master’s son shows interest in Sarah, she and two others take an enormous chance and face untold dangers by running for freedom.
There are many books about slavery but few from the perspective of a young woman who succeeds against overwhelming odds and grows from someone who can recite the letters of the alphabet to a teacher who inspires others. Sarah is a heroine who never forgets her African heritage, and the spirit of her ancestors as she struggles to be free. 488 pages Ages 12 and up
Recommended by Deborah E. Cohen