Blood on the River: James Town 1607

Blood on the River: James Town 1607

4.2 104
by Elisa Carbone
     
 

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Twelve-year-old Samuel Collier is a lowly commoner on the streets of London. So when he becomes the page of Captain John Smith and boards the ship the Susan Constant, bound for the New World, he can’t believe his good fortune. He’s heard that gold washes ashore with every tide. But beginning with the stormy journey and his first contact with the native

Overview

Twelve-year-old Samuel Collier is a lowly commoner on the streets of London. So when he becomes the page of Captain John Smith and boards the ship the Susan Constant, bound for the New World, he can’t believe his good fortune. He’s heard that gold washes ashore with every tide. But beginning with the stormy journey and his first contact with the native people, he realizes that the New World is nothing like he had ever imagined.The lush Virginia shore where they establish the colony of James Town is both beautiful and forbidding, and it’s hard to know who’s a friend or foe. As he learns the language of the Algonquin Indians and observes Captain Smith’s wise diplomacy, Samuel begins to see that he can be whomever he wants to be in this new land.

Editorial Reviews

From the Publisher
"Lively historical fiction at its best." -Kirkus Reviews, starred review

"Samuel’s account of the voyage to Virginia, political intrigues among the settlers, and the harrowing first winter of the James Town settlement brings to life figures like Smith, Powhatan, and Pocahontas. Details about food and daily life add realism to the story, and quotes from historical sources begin each chapter." -School Library Journal, starred review

Children's Literature
Plucked from an orphanage to serve Captain John Smith on his voyage to the New World, eleven-year-old Samuel Collier finds that the aggressive energy that served him well on London's streets is equally helpful for surviving the rigors of the Atlantic crossing and England's new colony on the Virginia shores. From his new master he learns that the independence he once prized is less valuable than the ability to get along with others, to work together to accomplish difficult tasks. Closely based on historical fact, this story of the early years of the James Town Colony comes to life through the eyes of this engaging character. Written in response to teacher requests, this is not simply supplemental curricular material. Carbone paces her story well, creating dramatic suspense and a clear sense of place through the use of vivid sensory detail. The irony of Samuel's early fear of native "cannibals" is made clear in the afterword, in which we learn that while Samuel was surviving the winter of 1609 in relative safety at Point Comfort, using some of the survival skills he learned from Powhatan Indians, those who remained at James Town were digging up graves for food. This is an adventure story, a coming-of-age story, and living history. In a concluding note the author describes her research and appends a list of sources. Entertaining and informative, this is a welcome addition to any historical fiction collection. 2006, Viking, Ages 10 to 14.
—Kathleen Isaacs
VOYA
This meticulously researched novel depicts the early history of Virginia's Jamestown colony from the viewpoint of Captain John Smith's eleven-year-old page, Samuel Collier. Carbone creates Samuel, a historical figure of unknown origin, as a London orphan convicted of thievery but saved from the gallows by a good-hearted magistrate who gives him into the care of the kindly Reverend Hunt. Hunt later passes Samuel on to Smith when Hunt, with the aim of bringing Christianity to the natives, joins the Jamestown expedition. Under the harsh colonial conditions and with mentoring from Smith and Hunt, Samuel, the street-tough loner, learns the value of cooperation and, in the end, risks his life to save those he has come to love. The characters are sufficiently well drawn to sustain reader interest in the plot, but it is the portrayal of colonial life that is the book's primary strength. Young readers will relish hearing of the slop buckets and vomit in the ship's hold and the exhumation and consumption of corpses by starving settlers. The "gentleman" colonists' rejection of manual labor, the fruitless search for gold, the stupid treatment of the native population, and the Virginia Company's efforts to ensure that no word of New World hardships reaches England, possibly discouraging the labor flow, all engage the imagination. School and public libraries will find that this book circulates best among historical fiction buffs and the cover, two feather-bedecked braves spying on the colony, may also attract adventure fans, especially boys. VOYA CODES: 4Q 2P M J (Better than most, marred only by occasional lapses; For the YA with a special interest in the subject; Middle School, defined as grades 6to 8; Junior High, defined as grades 7 to 9). 2006, Viking, 256p., Ages 11 to 15.
—Mary E. Heslin
School Library Journal
Gr 5-7-After attempting to steal back a necklace that belonged to his deceased mother, Samuel Collier is sent to an orphanage run by Reverend Hunt. The 11-year-old joins him on a journey to the New World, serving as a page to Captain John Smith. Samuel's account of the voyage to Virginia, political intrigues among the settlers, and the harrowing first winter of the James Town settlement brings to life figures like Smith, Powhatan, and Pocahontas. Details about food and daily life add realism to the story, and quotes from historical sources begin each chapter. This Samuel is more conflicted than the one in Gail Langer Karwoski's Surviving Jamestown: The Adventures of Young Sam Collier (Peachtree, 2001). His initial selfishness changes as he responds to the reverend, to Smith, and to his new friends. His time in an Indian village and his changing perspectives on the Natives add interest to the story and depth to his character. While the opening chapters move slowly, the pace picks up as Samuel reaches Virginia. This title is a good choice for a tie-in with the 400th anniversary celebrations of Jamestown in 2007.-Beth L. Meister, Pleasant View Elementary School, Franklin, WI Copyright 2006 Reed Business Information.
Kirkus Reviews
Lucky to escape the gallows but doomed to servitude in the New World, young Samuel Collier instead finds adventure and a chance to remake himself, away from the streets and orphanages he has known. Carbone frames her story of the Jamestown settlement by the Powhatan prophecy foretelling the destruction of the Powhatan kingdom. The clash of cultures bringing about that destruction is well portrayed, as is the personal class between the gentlemen of the Virginia Company and the commoner Captain John Smith. Good use is made of eyewitness accounts in a telling that far transcends the usual dry textbook summaries of the period. While learning much history, readers will find characters real enough to care about: Ten-year-old Pocahontas racing naked through the center of the fort, Samuel mastering the bow and arrow and shooting his first rabbit, the magic of a New World masquerade in Pocahontas's village, where Samuel sits next to a princess. Lively historical fiction at its best. (afterword, author's note, acknowledgments, sources) (Fiction. 10 )

Product Details

ISBN-13:
9780670060603
Publisher:
Penguin Young Readers Group
Publication date:
05/04/2006
Pages:
256
Product dimensions:
5.89(w) x 8.57(h) x 0.88(d)
Lexile:
820L (what's this?)
Age Range:
12 Years

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What People are saying about this

From the Publisher

"Lively historical fiction at its best." -Kirkus Reviews, starred review

"Samuel’s account of the voyage to Virginia, political intrigues among the settlers, and the harrowing first winter of the James Town settlement brings to life figures like Smith, Powhatan, and Pocahontas. Details about food and daily life add realism to the story, and quotes from historical sources begin each chapter." -School Library Journal, starred review

Meet the Author

Elisa Carbone lives in Maryland and West Virginia.

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Blood on the River 4.2 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 103 reviews.
Guest More than 1 year ago
The book 'Blood On The River' is an enthralling historical fiction. It is also a very captivating story. It keeps your attention and it doesn't go off topic. Five Star rating*****. I like this book because it was so funny. Example one: 'I would like to speak to Samuel, please,' said Henry. 'Henry, I'm Samuel!' said Samuel. 'He's a savage!' said Henry (Samuel had been living with the Algonquins for quite some time so he looked rather like one.) Example two: 'How far can you skip a rock?' said Samuel. 'Further than you,' said Richard. Example three: 'Is your mistress eating some of your food rations' Samuel thought when Ann walked up to pick some flowers and she looked rather underfed. I also liked this book because the characters change. For example, Samuel changes from being independent to being dependent. As I said before, five stars for Blood on the River. It's worthy of a Newberry.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
This book is good but theres too many charectors and we are reading this book as a class in 5th grade.ooooooooookkkkkkkkkkkkkk.ooooooooooookkkkkkkkkk.peach:)
Guest More than 1 year ago
Young Samuel Collier starts off a street rat in London until he bcomes the young page for Captin John Smith, his life twists into good fortune. Aboard the Susan Constant and in the New World Samuel learns many skills from a noble and intelligent man Captain John Smith. Elisa Carbone tells an overwhelming adventure so I do recomend it. The New World is a tough place to live, it is not anything like the people in England said it would be. They said gold would wash up with the tide. I highly recomend this book because it is thrilling and because of it's theme, that you will not always be at a low rank. Captain Smith starts off a commoner but soon becomes president. I also recomend this book because of how Elisa Carbone makes you feel Samuel's struggles and feelings beacause of his thoughts and actions. New settlers came and sabotaged Indian villages so will the peace they had with the Indians last? Will the colony survive winter? Will samuel become something? If you want these questions answered read the book.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Luv it........amazing book
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
One of the best books ever
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
I had to read this in my 5th grade clas and it was the best book ever
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
This was a good book I read for school and it is vry informative, just maybe too informative, what I'm trying to say is that it's not very entertaining. But other than that good book.
HomeSchoolBookReview More than 1 year ago
It is 1606, and Samuel Collier is an eleven-year-old orphan. His father had drunk himself to death, and his mother died in the poorhouse. Upon his mother’s death, her locket was taken to a pawn shop to fetch a little money to cover Samuel’s food. However, Sam runs away from the poorhouse, lives on the streets, and then steals the locket but is caught and turned over to a minister named Hunt who runs an orphanage. It just so happens that Mr. Hunt is accompanying a Virginia Company expedition to establish a settlement in the New World, and he offers Samuel the opportunity to become the page for Captain John Smith. This historical fiction book chronicles the first couple of years in the history of Jamestown through the eyes of young Samuel Collier. The question is, will he survive? Author Elisa Carbone, who grew up in Virginia, has written several other books of historical fiction for young people about the region. Her Stealing Freedom (1998), based on a true story of a young Maryland slave girl’s harrowing escape to freedom on the Underground Railroad around 1855, was an ALA Best Book for Young Adults, and her Storm Warriors(2001), about racial prejudice against the African American surfmen of the U.S. Lifesaving Service on Pea Island off the North Carolina shore in 1895, won Virginia’s 2002 Jefferson Cup Award. When I saw Blood on the River on sale in a discount book store and noticed that it was historical fiction for young people about Jamestown, I immediately picked it up. The author evidently did a lot of detailed research to present a very accurate picture of the Jamestown colony and what happened there. She writes, “Though in some instances the dialogue is taken from the original records, for the most part I have invented dialogue, thoughts, personalities, and the like. And I have simplified a story that is far too complex to be contained in one book.” Samuel Collier was a real person, though Carbone says that she had to invent his family life and origins. He did accompany Captain Smith on two expeditions, was left to live at a Warraskoyack village for a time, stayed in Virginia when Smith returned to England, and when he grew up was appointed the leader of a Virginia town. There are a few references to drinking ale and wine and a couple of instances where people were said to be completely naked in public. Also, the terms “by God” and “my Lord” are each used once as an interjection. And Sam does a little bit of lying, especially towards the beginning, although he does learn to accept responsibility as he works with John Smith. Otherwise, this is a very well-written and interesting historical fiction account of the Jamestown story for middle and high school students.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
I read this book for a school project. It was assigned. I usually don't like books that my teachers pick out but Blood On The River is one of the best books I've ever read. I'm also not a fan of historical fiction but this book completly changed that!!
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
My favorite read aloud! My teacher read it to my 5th grade class and I loved it all! Since we could only read a chapter a day, it was impossible to put down. Elisa Carbone is the best author in the world of historical fiction! Please write a sequel!
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
I read this book in 5th grade and i just have to read it again because it was amazing
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Is about a wierd kid
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
I have to read this for fith grade and is it any goog?
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
This book is amazing its about a not that trys to take his moms locket back and ends up on a ship to the "new world" and has to learn to help others and that he's can't do everything by himself my teacher is reading this to my class and we are on chapter 19 and every time a chapter ends everyone starts to groan causr they don't want our teacher to stop reading well I'm tired of typing so bye
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Best book ever so far. Without this book I would get an F in S.S.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
This is a great book . Once you start reading it you wont want to put it down .
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Ausome adventurous
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Awesome