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For Liberty: The Story of the Boston Massacre
     

For Liberty: The Story of the Boston Massacre

by Timothy Decker
 

By March 5, 1770, it was dangerous to be a soldier in Boston. Colonial businessmen opposed the taxes imposed by Great Britain. The Sons of Liberty ruled the city through boycotts and riots. British troops were sent to protect lives and property. On that late winter day, a British private found himself harassed by street toughs. Then up from the docks came sailors

Overview

By March 5, 1770, it was dangerous to be a soldier in Boston. Colonial businessmen opposed the taxes imposed by Great Britain. The Sons of Liberty ruled the city through boycotts and riots. British troops were sent to protect lives and property. On that late winter day, a British private found himself harassed by street toughs. Then up from the docks came sailors and ruffians armed with clubs and cutlasses. Soldiers from the British 29th Regiment of Foot came to disperse the mob. Threats made, stones thrown, then ... gunfire. In spare, gripping language, author-illustrator Timothy Decker describes the tense, violent confrontation between Boston's angry colonists and soldiers, as well as the legal aftermath that underscored the rule of law.

Editorial Reviews

Children's Literature - Ken Marantz and Sylvia Marantz
In crisp prose, Decker lays the background for the events leading to the confrontation between the colonists and the British soldiers in 1770 Boston. We follow the mustering of the individual soldiers as they come to support one of their guards confronting a bellicose group of colonists by the Custom House. Captain Preston is sure they will not attack his soldiers. But the crowd throws stones, snowballs, and ice. An angry soldier fires. "After a few minutes of chaos," order is restored. But an investigation leads to the trial of Captain Preston and the soldiers. There is no proof, however. What became known as the Boston Massacre was the beginning of the subsequent American fight for liberty. The illustration on the front jacket introduces the melodrama of the story. Framed in brick red and set on a black background, it is produced with pen and black ink, as are the other illustrations inside. The composition of the opposing forces incorporates the tension of the confrontation with the inevitability of the eventual action. The solid red of the cover adds emotion and contrast to the black and white illustrations inside set above a black bottom border with text in white. There's a solidity to the figures and a strong theatrical sense in the designs. This visual interpretation of a small slice of history contrasts with the illustrations typically used in books and posters on this subject. Reviewer: Ken Marantz and Sylvia Marantz
School Library Journal
Gr 5–8—The Boston Massacre is given a dramatic illustrated treatment here. Background about the political situation in England, especially its battles with France and need for capital from the American colonies, sets the stage. British soldiers are introduced individually almost as players in a theatrical production while tensions in Boston build to the climactic confrontation between the soldiers guarding the Custom House and the townspeople. Although Crispus Attucks is not mentioned by name, a man who appears to be African American is shown as a shooting victim. The black-and-white, pen-and-ink, cross-hatched art is done in a graphic-novel style but without panels or speech bubbles. All the faces are similar and blank, with slits as eyes, which distances readers somewhat from the events. The book is presented as nonfiction and John Adams is quoted directly, but no sources are listed. The ending is a bit abrupt. John Adams defends the British soldiers at their trial, then contemplates "a troubled future." Still, the book would be an intriguing addition to classroom discussion about the causes of the rebellion and how ordinary people became caught up in the conflict.—Lucinda Snyder Whitehurst, St. Christopher's School, Richmond, VA
Kirkus Reviews
"By March 5, 1770, it was dangerous to be a soldier in Boston." In a few lines of terse prose illustrated with densely hatched black-and-white pictures, Decker lays out the causes of the tension between Bostonians and British troops, and then delivers a blow-by-blow account of events on that March night and the ensuing trials. Along with casting a grim tone over all, his dark, crowded illustrations capture the incident's confusion and also add details to the narrative. Despite some questionable choices-he names most of the soldiers but none of the casualties, and except for a row of coffins in one picture, never mentions how many actually died-the author leaves readers with a general understanding of what happened, and with a final scene of John Adams (who defended the soldiers in court) pondering the necessity of protecting true Liberty from the "lawless mob," some food for thought as well. (Informational picture book. 9-10)

Product Details

ISBN-13:
9781590786086
Publisher:
Highlights Press
Publication date:
09/01/2009
Pages:
40
Sales rank:
1,331,714
Product dimensions:
10.30(w) x 10.70(h) x 0.40(d)
Lexile:
730L (what's this?)
Age Range:
9 - 11 Years

Meet the Author

Timothy Decker graduated from Kutztown University with a BFA degree in Fine Art and a concentration in drawing. He then spent several years engaged in large format and landscape photography. This pursuit led to world travel and various exhibitions. In 2004 he began teaching creative writing to young adults, at which time he wrote The Letter Home, his first book. He lives in Jersey City, New Jersey.

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