F Is for Freedom

F Is for Freedom

5.0 1
by Roni Schotter, C. B. Mordan, DK Publishing
     
 

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"Reading is freedom," Hannah's mother has always told her. "The thoughts in books are powerful strong, stronger even than chains," her father has said.

One sharp knock at midnight, then a double thump. Impulsive, imaginative Amanda loves to read and playact, but this noise is real. Outside, her father is unloading a wagon. Out of the sacks come a man, a woman

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Overview

"Reading is freedom," Hannah's mother has always told her. "The thoughts in books are powerful strong, stronger even than chains," her father has said.

One sharp knock at midnight, then a double thump. Impulsive, imaginative Amanda loves to read and playact, but this noise is real. Outside, her father is unloading a wagon. Out of the sacks come a man, a woman holding a sleeping baby, and Hannah, a tall, thin girl about Amanda's age—runaway slaves!

Suddenly Amanda's life is full of danger. Her house, she discovers that night, is a stop on the Underground Railroad. But she also discovers a rare friend in Hannah. Courageous and determined, Hannah longs to be free in every way she can, including the freedom that comes with literacy. And headstrong Amanda is willing to risk everything to help her.

Set a decade before the Civil War, this moving story crackles with suspense and says as much about the power of words as it does about the power of friendship.

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Editorial Reviews

Children's Literature
Never would Amanda's gifted imagination be more important. Charlie Meecker, the local law, was standing at her door asking questions about noises in the night. Only minutes before, when a family of runaway slaves had silently been rushed to a hideaway closet in her home, Amanda had discovered that her parents were members of the Underground Railroad. Now, it was up to Amanda to create a distraction which would save them all from being discovered. In so doing, Amanda's father, along with Amanda herself, discover her adultlike strength and understanding. "Our laws are only as fair as the people who make them," her father had said. We must "follow our conscience and do what is right by it." Instantly, Amanda understands and, in one very special day, comes to love Hannah, the longlegged, determined slave girl of her own age. An avid reader, Amanda is horrified at Hannah's life as a slave. She cannot understand the concept of a person owning another person, or, equally upsetting, the rules against reading. Amanda is determined to show Hannah freedom. Against her father's orders to hide in her bedroom with Hannah, Amanda takes her to the golden fields and teaches her to read by forming letters in the sandy earth. But when the slave hunters return, Amanda's courage is truly tested. Enormous risk aside, her father realizes that Amanda is the only one who can lead the runaway family to freedom. Set a decade before the Civil War, this poignant story takes us on an important journey which captures the meaning of friendship and freedom. 2000, Dorling Kindersley, Ages 10 to 12, $15.95. Reviewer: Leslie Julian
School Library Journal - School Library Journal
Gr 3-6-Awakened by strange noises in the night, 10-year-old Amanda stumbles upon a chilling scene as four slaves emerge from grain sacks in a stranger's wagon. The girl's parents reveal that their house on the Hudson River is a station on the Underground Railroad and that secrecy is imperative. The terrified fugitives are locked inside a hidden closet moments before the constable arrives, but quick-minded Amanda tells an elaborate story to quell his suspicions. In the ensuing days, the girl befriends Hannah, the slave family's curious and vivacious daughter, and teaches her to read and write a few letters. Eager to provide a brief taste of freedom, Amanda disobeys her father and takes Hannah outside to explore the meadow. When slave hunters spot them, the girls flee into a camouflaged tunnel that Amanda knows of, not realizing that it is an escape route for slaves. Later that night, she guides the family through this tunnel to the boat that will transport them to Canada. Schotter's characters are disappointingly vague, and even though their dialogue mentions many of the social and political issues that affect them, there is little elaboration or detail. The plot is simplistic and relies heavily on sentimentality. Mordan's dramatic black-and-white scratchboard illustrations appear throughout. Though the story may generate interest from young readers, better books on the subject are available.-William McLoughlin, Brookside School, Worthington, OH Copyright 2000 Cahners Business Information.
Kirkus Reviews
Eleven years before the Civil War, the seeds of internal discontent took root when Congress passed the Compromise of 1850, a fugitive slave law designed to pacify slave owners in the South, when California was admitted as a free state, upsetting the balance of power. Ten-year-old Manda and her parents harbor runaway slaves from North Carolina in their New York home, as lawmen and bounty hunters seek to enforce this new law with a vengeance. The danger involved in escaping and assisting with an escape becomes clear to the reader, as does the need to flee from the US into Canada. When Manda learns that nine-year-old Hannah was whipped by her former owner for merely opening a book she was dusting, Manda sets out to teach her the alphabet and empower her with knowledge that can never be taken away. Manda nearly exposes both families to danger, however, when she takes Hannah outside to get a taste of physical freedom. Plans are then expedited to ensure the safety of both parties. Manda is selected to lead the slave family through a hidden escape tunnel to meet up with another member of the Underground Railroad and a packet boat that will transport them to the border of New York and ultimate freedom in Canada. In a simple story fraught with tension, Schotter has found a way to bring this history lesson to life for children no older than brave Manda and indomitable Hannah. (Fiction. 7-12)

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Product Details

ISBN-13:
9780789426413
Publisher:
DK
Publication date:
11/28/2000
Pages:
112
Product dimensions:
6.25(w) x 9.33(h) x 0.51(d)
Lexile:
740L (what's this?)
Age Range:
8 - 12 Years

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