Fight for Freedom

Fight for Freedom

by Stan Mack, Susan Champlin
     
 

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Bringing history into an engaging and kid-friendly graphic novel format, the Cartoon Chronicles series returns with a look at the Civil War. As the fighting comes closer to a Virginia plantation, a young slave named Sam escapes to search for his father, who’s been conscripted into the Confederate army. Meanwhile, Sam’s friend Annabelle, the plantation

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Overview

Bringing history into an engaging and kid-friendly graphic novel format, the Cartoon Chronicles series returns with a look at the Civil War. As the fighting comes closer to a Virginia plantation, a young slave named Sam escapes to search for his father, who’s been conscripted into the Confederate army. Meanwhile, Sam’s friend Annabelle, the plantation owner’s daughter, must help run the plantation when her father dies. And that’s no easy matter when soldiers from both armies want to use the plantation for their own purposes! Contains a prologue and an epilogue that separates fact from fiction.

Editorial Reviews

VOYA - Laura Perenic
Fight for Freedom is the second book in the series Cartoon Chronicles of America. The story has a prologue and epilogue with historical information. The epilogue is organized by chapter, so the reader can discern fact from fiction. Fictional characters are presented alongside historical figures. The story of Annabelle, daughter of a slave owner, and Sam, a slave, is familiar, but has the unique twist of being told as a graphic novel. The art is lackluster with people appearing as caricatures with noses as afterthoughts. Some aspects of the art are thoroughly out of place. For instance, when a gun fires, the special lettering for the sound "Bam" is accompanied by a rainbow zig-zag. These embellishments seem to trivialize the content. Fight for Freedom would not be a strong contender for a library building its graphic novel collection; however, it could be used to supplement an American History curriculum. It is unlikely that young adults will gravitate toward the juvenile art work or the bland storytelling. This series is best suited to a school library or a classroom collection. Reviewer: Laura Perenic
Children's Literature - Heather Robertson Mason
It is the middle of the Civil War, but so far the battles have stayed away from Twin Oaks plantation in Virginia. Annebelle Beauregard, the young mistress of the plantation, has never questioned her loyalty to the South, until Sam, the house slave, is whipped for stealing her book. Sam, on the other hand, is impatient to fight, eager to secure his freedom. Soon the opportunity to escape comes for Sam, and Annebelle's loyalty and strength is tested when her father leaves to for battle. Sam and Annebelle's storylines cross throughout to tell two different but connected stories of the South during the Civil War. While the both storylines are unrealistic and in some parts portrays the war in overly simplistic terms, it is an excellent resource for young readers looking to learn about this pivotal period in history. The book allows readers to picture more than the battles, including life in the big house, life in the slave quarters, and life on the run. It also showcases the decisions people at this time were forced to make. One of the best features is the section in the back that breaks down the fiction from the fact chapter by chapter—excellent for teachers using the text to supplement a lesson. For readers familiar with the graphic novel format, the illustrations will feel subpar. The backgrounds are not complete and the faces are flat. It is not a good replacement for a nonfiction text about slavery or the Civil War, but this book definitely adds to the discussion. Reviewer: Heather Robertson Mason
Library Journal
The struggles of the Civil War and emancipation come through in this fictional story of Annabelle, the feisty daughter of a plantation owner, and Sam, the courageous son of the slave woman who helped raise her. With Annabelle’s help, Sam escapes to look for his father, who has been taken off to labor on the rail lines supporting Confederate offensives. Meanwhile, Annabelle must help run the plantation after her own father dies, providing medical care for soldiers from both sides. A prologue and epilogue explain distinguish fact from fiction in this historical graphic novel. Maps are also included.

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Kirkus Reviews
When the people in this graphic novel get into a fight, they go "ACK!" and "POW" and "G-R-R-R-R," yet the book makes for surprisingly credible history. A prose prologue sets up the graphic novel that follows, providing background on slavery, Westward expansion and states' rights before delivering a précis on the Civil War up to 1862, just before the Battle of Fredericksburg. The people in this book, introduced in a visual dramatis personae, feel more like movie characters than historical figures, which is appropriate to the form. Sam is a slave who's memorized Shakespeare and can navigate most of Virginia by heart. Annabelle, the plantation owner's daughter, can hit any target the instant she picks up a rifle. The slaveholders are so cruel they nearly twirl their mustaches. But like the best movie characters, they have narrow escapes and sensational battles that readers will want to follow to the last scene. Every chapter is based in fact, even if the heroes are invented (Lincoln makes a cameo). Every section has methodical, gripping historical notes. The drawing style is loose and imprecise, the word balloons are sometimes lopsided, and every character is 10 feet tall, but these are stars, and many readers will stay with them through the next volume. A graphic-novel series that aims to draw in reluctant historians; it looks like it may well achieve its goal. (Historical graphic novel. 10-14)
Publishers Weekly
During the American Civil War, Sam and Annabelle live on the same plantation, but have radically different stations. Sam is a young slave who has learned how to read but must keep it secret or else he faces punishment. Annabelle is the daughter of the plantation owner, and while at first it seems she might be a sheltered, spoiled girl, it turns out she is much more forward-thinking. She helps Sam escape, at which point he goes North and finds himself in a series of interesting—if unlikely—situations, including meeting with Abraham Lincoln and helping out the army. Annabelle, meanwhile, helps her mother turn the plantation into a hospital of sorts for soldiers on both sides. The story is fast-paced, the characters have distinct personalities, and readers will be rooting for Sam and Annabelle to beat the odds. Real details of the Civil War are woven in, and afterward Mack and Champlin explain what is fact and what is fiction, and even include maps to enhance the educational value. As well done as it all is, however, a certain didactic tone can’t be escaped. Ages 10–14. (July) ¦
School Library Journal
Gr 4–6—In this informative and entertaining complement to Civil War studies, Sam is a young house slave at the Twin Oaks plantation in 1861. Annabelle Beauregard is the daughter of the plantation owners. After a brief "How We Got Here" prologue, the story picks up following early Confederate victories. Things begin to change when Annabelle's father, Beau Beauregard, dies on the battlefield. Twin Oaks slowly becomes a military hospital, while Sam escapes to the North to find his father and help the Union army. While the main characters are fictional, the setting and events are historically accurate. Back matter includes a chapter-by-chapter breakdown of what is fact and what is fiction. The sketchy, full-color pen and watercolor illustrations are straightforward and fairly spare, with minimal backgrounds. They capably pair with the text, clearly signaling the emotion of the dialogue. Fight for Freedom provides classroom connections as well as pleasure reading for young military and history buffs.—Travis Jonker, Wayland Union Schools, MI

Product Details

ISBN-13:
9781599900148
Publisher:
Bloomsbury USA
Publication date:
07/17/2012
Series:
Cartoon Chronicles of America Series
Edition description:
First Edition
Pages:
128
Product dimensions:
9.30(w) x 6.40(h) x 0.60(d)
Lexile:
500L (what's this?)
Age Range:
9 - 11 Years

Meet the Author

Bringing history into an engaging and kid-friendly graphic novel format, the Cartoon Chronicles series returns with a look at the Civil War. As the fighting comes closer to a Virginia plantation, a young slave named Sam escapes to search for his father, who's been conscripted into the Confederate army. Meanwhile, Sam's friend Annabelle, the plantation owner's daughter, must help run the plantation when her father dies. And that's no easy matter when soldiers from both armies want to use the plantation for their own purposes! Contains a prologue and an epilogue that separates fact from fiction.

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