Out of Slavery: The Journey to Amazing Grace

Out of Slavery: The Journey to Amazing Grace

by Linda Granfield, Janet Wilson
     
 
The story of slavery, a man, and the world’s most beloved hymn.

John Newton led a rich life. He was a God-fearing man and a successful seafaring trader; his cargo was a lucrative business, for his wares were human beings. In 1748, Newton’s ship, the Greyhound, sailed the triangular trade route from Liverpool to Africa and on to Antigua as it had many

Overview

The story of slavery, a man, and the world’s most beloved hymn.

John Newton led a rich life. He was a God-fearing man and a successful seafaring trader; his cargo was a lucrative business, for his wares were human beings. In 1748, Newton’s ship, the Greyhound, sailed the triangular trade route from Liverpool to Africa and on to Antigua as it had many times before. But on one journey, at the height of the slave trade, a storm raged. Feeling all was lost, Newton prayed that if he were spared, he would leave the cruel world of slave trading behind forever. That night, Newton’s prayers were answered, and true to his word, he turned his back on the slave trade. In fact, he went on to become an ardent abolitionist. Among Newton’s many achievements, his greatest legacy would be the most beloved hymn of all: “Amazing Grace.”

Out of Slavery: The Journey to Amazing Grace is the story of slavery as well as the man and the hymn.

Editorial Reviews

From the Publisher
“The depth of research in the text is admirable and the prose tells the story without excuses or moralizing. Janet Wilson’s illustrations are equally exceptional; each page beautifully captures the era without affectation or melodrama.”
— Highly Recommended — Children’s Book Review Annual 1997
Children's Literature - Shirley Nelson
John Newton was an eighteenth century English seaman who was heavily involved in the slave trader. He regularly sailed human cargo along the Middle Passage from Africa to the West Indies. Granfield notes that while Newton's ships were less crowded and cleaner than the typical slave ships, living conditions were horrible for those who would later be sold as slaves, if they survived the journey. Yet, Newton and others like him believed he was simply conducting business. A religious man, Newton found himself drifting from his faith until he survived a terrible storm at sea. He continued to sail slave ships for a few years, but prayed for a better life. In 1754, he quit his seafaring life, joined the evangelical movement, and became a minister. Newton was a powerful speaker and his sermons were well-known. However, he is best remembered for writing the popular hymn "Amazing Grace." Wilson beautifully illustrates this inspiring story. Reviewer: Shirley Nelson
VOYA - Lynne Farrell Stover
The story begins aboard a storm-tossed ship where John Newton, a man of great conflict and contradiction, is in the process of redefining his life. This chronicle of Newton's life then proceeds to describe a boyhood in London, continues with time spent as a slave trader, and concludes with his transformation to abolitionist, Methodist minister, and author of the popular hymn, "Amazing Grace." Interwoven in the narrative of Newton's life are frequent side trips informing the reader of the cultural and economic conditions that allowed the acceptance of slavery as a perceived solution to many of history's problems. (The author notes the irony of the fact that Newton made his livelihood trading human beings event though when he was a boy, he was enslaved on a lime plantation in Sierra Leone for fifteen months.) The story concludes with details of the creation, importance, and popularity of the hymn itself. Readable but overly descriptive, the prose sometimes distracts from the story. The illustrations, while beautifully executed, lack energy and historic detail. They seldom add to or distract from the author's narrative but seem to depict exactly the information revealed on the facing page. Stylized maps of eighteenth-century slave trade routes can be found on the end papers and a complete copy of the hymn is included in the text; however, the lack of an index, any source citations, bibliography, table of contents, or even page numbers limit this book's usefulness as a reference tool. Reviewer: Lynne Farrell Stover
School Library Journal
Gr 4–7—Nearly identical to Amazing Grace (Tundra, 1997), this slightly updated version of the story of the hymn and its writer is beautifully written, evocative, and heart-wrenching. With an emphasis on John Newton and his years as a slave trader, Granfield shares how the events in his life led him to become an abolitionist, a pastor, and a writer of hymns. Some wording and details about the hymn itself and how it is used today have been changed from the original text, but the tone is the same. Also updated are details about the timing of the abolition of slavery in the British colonies. Information is included about the conditions on a slave ship and how individuals were bought or captured in Africa, but the focus is really on Newton and his life. No source notes or bibliography are included, though direct quotations from Newton's own writings are peppered throughout. Full-color, full-page illustrations add grandeur and appeal to the story. Rich in texture and color, the artwork is somber in tone and content, including depictions of captured Africans in shackles and the cargo holds of slave ships. Jim Haskins's Amazing Grace (Millbrook, 1992) offers more detail about Newton's life and is written in a more child-friendly manner. Lyrical and lovely, this is a solid addition to any collection.—Jody Kopple, Shady Hill School, Cambridge, MA

Product Details

ISBN-13:
9780887769153
Publisher:
Tundra
Publication date:
08/11/2009
Pages:
40
Product dimensions:
8.30(w) x 10.20(h) x 0.30(d)
Lexile:
NC1070L (what's this?)
Age Range:
3 Months to 18 Years

Meet the Author

Linda Granfield is the award-winning author of nearly twenty-five nonfiction titles for young readers. Known for her meticulous research, as well as her fine writing, Granfield’s books include In Flanders Fields: the Story of the Poem by John McCrae and High Flight: A Story of World War II. Linda Granfield grew up in Boston and now makes her home in Toronto.

Janet Wilson is a graduate of the Ontario College of Art. Her illustrations have appeared in numerous magazines and picture books, including In Flanders Fields: The Story of the Poem by John McCrae, which won the inaugural Red Cedar Award for Nonfiction and the Municipal Chapter I.O.D.E. Award for Children’s Books. She lives in Eden Mills, Ontario.

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