Although this is historical fiction, it provides a view of slave life, through the eyes of ten-year-old Lottie that is not well known. The pain of Lottie being separated and sold away from her mother is strongly felt as you read the author's account. Fortunately for Lottie, she is befriended by Weza, an older woman. She develops and executes a plot for them to escape from their cruel slave trader. Once escaped they are spotted by a Union soldier from an observation balloon. He alerts soldiers on the ground who rescue them. Since they are property of slave owners they can be legally confiscated as contraband and they don't have to be returned to their owner. The author gives us a picture of these contraband slaves who made their way to Fortress Monroe in Hampton, Virginia during the Civil War. Various organizations provided work, shelter, food and clothing and they also established schools so that the contraband slaves could be educated. In Lottie's Courage, Lottie is offered an opportunity to go north to Boston to attend school but her desire to be reunited with her mother is greater than her desire for an education. So she waits. A teacher can use this story to supplement curriculum about the State of Virginia, the Civil War and slavery. 2002, White Mane Kids,
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Gr 4-6-After 10-year-old Lottie is sold to a slave trader, she is befriended by kind, old Weza, who helps her escape the coffle as they struggle on the walk from Virginia to the Carolinas. They are eventually rescued by Union soldiers and allowed to begin a new life. With the help of a Jewish peddler, Weza is able to buy a washtub and supplies to set up a laundry business for the soldiers and families in the Union-occupied area known as Grand Contraband Camp. Lottie becomes her assistant, attends school, and dreams of being united with her mother. While Haislip gives an accurate historical account of the brutal, dangerous, and frightening life of both the runaway and newly freed slaves, her characters lack realism. Their use of language and conversational exchanges sound more like modern-day banter than period vernacular. An author's note explains the historical context clearly, and a glossary includes definitions of terms such as "contraband of war" and organizations such as "American Missionary Association." Black-and-white reproductions of prints and photographs appear throughout the text, and suggested landmarks and museums to visit are appended. Carolyn Reeder's Across the Lines (Atheneum, 1997) and Mary E. Lyons's Letters from a Slave Girl: The Story of Harriet Jacobs (Scribner, 1992) both give richer, more poignant views of this time period.-Rita Soltan, Oakland University, Rochester, MI Copyright 2003 Reed Business Information.