Phillis Sings Out Freedom: The Story of George Washington and Phillis Wheatley

Phillis Sings Out Freedom: The Story of George Washington and Phillis Wheatley

by Ann Malaspina, Susan Keeler
     
 

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In the fall of 1775, General George Washington was struggling to find a way to fight the British so that the colonies could be free from England. Phillis Wheatley, an African American poet who herself had struggled to gain freedom, decided to write Washington a poem of encouragement. Ann Malaspina’s inspiring story shows the life and times of these two brave

Overview


In the fall of 1775, General George Washington was struggling to find a way to fight the British so that the colonies could be free from England. Phillis Wheatley, an African American poet who herself had struggled to gain freedom, decided to write Washington a poem of encouragement. Ann Malaspina’s inspiring story shows the life and times of these two brave people who did so much to lay the foundation of our country.

Editorial Reviews

Publishers Weekly
Words can be powerful allies during war, suggests this warm tribute to African-American poet Wheatley, who wrote an impassioned poem to Gen. George Washington during the American Revolution. Keeter's oil paintings alternate between scenes of Washington and his haggard soldiers and of Wheatley's upbringing. Taken by slave ship to Boston and sold to an affluent couple, Phillis learns to read and write; after proving the legitimacy of her poems, she is set free and writes to Washington to show her support. Malaspina documents the Continental Army's first victory, and as the British retreat, Wheatley wields a quill and paper: "And with her poems, Phillis Wheatley sang out freedom--for herself and a new nation." Ages 7–10. (Sept.)
School Library Journal
Gr 1–3—Parallel stories tell of a poem written by Wheatley that inspired General Washington during the Revolutionary War. Born in Africa, Phillis was taken by slave traders and sold in Boston as a young girl. Her owners, the Wheatleys, allowed their daughter to teach her to read. They were amazed by the poems she soon began to write. Her abilities challenged many people's convictions that slaves had low intelligence and could not be educated. After being freed, Wheatley decided to take up another cause. In 1775, she wrote a poem about freedom and sent it to Washington. He wrote back, thanking her for her confidence in him. For Washington's part of the story, the author concentrates on the difficult winter of 1775–'76, when the Continental Army was camped in Massachusetts, keeping the British Army bottled up nearby in Boston. Including both individuals places Wheatley into chronological context and broadens the appeal of this picture book. Oil paintings help readers gain a sense of the period.—Lucinda Snyder Whitehurst, St. Christopher's School, Richmond, VA
Kirkus Reviews

How does an enslaved African woman learn to read and write, become a prolific poet and earn recognition from a renowned general and future first president of the United States? Malaspina's brief account is evocative and uncomplicated. Her portrayal of both Washington's battles on the field and Wheatley's struggles on the home front illustrate the essential irony of the American Revolution. The fact that the colonists were at once fighting for their freedom from England and depriving Africans of theirs is one of the great hypocrisies of American history. The text addresses it, but the emphasis is placed on Washington's and Wheatley's twin triumphs, he in liberating Boston and she in publishing her poems. It ends on a high note, leaving Wheatley's descent into poverty and early death to an author's note (to which is appended the 1772 authentication of Wheatley's authorship). Keeter's illustrations depict the depth of character of the individuals and the hardships and challenges of their environments. (bibliography) (Picture book. 6-10)

Product Details

ISBN-13:
9781497647305
Publisher:
Whitman, Albert & Company
Publication date:
05/20/2014
Sold by:
Barnes & Noble
Format:
NOOK Book
Pages:
32
File size:
15 MB
Note:
This product may take a few minutes to download.
Age Range:
7 - 10 Years

Meet the Author


Ann Malaspina has written many books for children, including Touch the Sky: Alice Coachman, Olympic High Jumper and Finding Lincoln. She lives in New Jersey with her husband and two sons.

 

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