Phillis Wheatley: Slave and Poet (Signature Lives Series)


A biography profiling the life of Phyllis Wheatley, a slave turned writer whose collection of poetry about religion, freedom, people, and America become the first published book by an African-American. Includes source notes and timeline.
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A biography profiling the life of Phyllis Wheatley, a slave turned writer whose collection of poetry about religion, freedom, people, and America become the first published book by an African-American. Includes source notes and timeline.
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Editorial Reviews

This series highlights four extraordinary women of the American Revolution-Martha Washington, Mercy Otis Warren, Phillis Wheatley, and Abigail Adams. Filled with color illustrations (contemporary engravings often misleadingly tinted for a newer market), maps, time lines, interesting factoids, and suggested readings, these titles might seem ideal for young people, perhaps designed especially for younger teen reluctant readers faced with selecting a biography for a school assignment. Relying completely on secondary sources, fictionalized biographies, and published correspondence, these books provide speculative and generally accurate portraits of remarkable women. Occasionally marred by sloppy editing, sentimentality, and jarringly colloquial language, the books will, no doubt, find a place in school and public libraries where curriculum-supporting biographies and Accelerated Reader titles flourish. (Signature Lives: Revolutionary War Period). VOYA CODES: 2Q 1P M J (Better editing or work by the author might have warranted a 3Q; No YA will read unless forced to for assignments; Middle School, defined as grades 6 to 8; Junior High, defined as grades 7 to 9). 2006, Compass Point Books, 112p.; Index. Illus. Maps. Biblio. Source Notes. Further Reading. Chronology., PLB . Ages 11 to 15.
—Jamie S. Hansen
Children's Literature
Born in Africa and brought to America in 1761 as a slave when she was about seven years old, Phillis Wheatley was the first African-American to publish a book. John Wheatley of Boston, Massachusetts, purchased Phillis as a companion for his ailing wife, Susanna. Soon after her arrival, though, the little girl's aptitude for learning was noticed and encouraged. She learned to read and write. Phillis also studied French, Latin, and Greek, but she loved poetry best of all. At fourteen, she translated a Latin poem into English and published her first poem in 1767. When some people questioned whether a young slave could have written such poetry, John Wheatley invited respected Bostonians, including John Hancock, to test Phillis—she passed. She traveled to London in 1773 to see about publishing a book of poems and was even invited to an audience with King George III, but Susanna's illness prompted Phillis to cut short her visit to England. Susanna saw Phillis' book in print before dying the following year. At age 20, Phillis was freed and had to make a life for herself. She continued to write poetry, including a poem in honor of George Washington, who invited her to visit him, but her life often was difficult. She died penniless in a boarding house in 1784, but her legacy lives today. Part of the "Signature Lives" series, this comprehensive biography of a Revolutionary War-era figure contains a time line, source notes, additional resources, a glossary, an index and a bibliography. 2006, Compass Point Books, Ages 9 to 12.
—Valerie O. Patterson
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780756509842
  • Publisher: Capstone Press
  • Publication date: 9/1/2005
  • Series: How's the Weather? Series
  • Pages: 24
  • Age range: 10 - 12 Years
  • Lexile: 950L (what's this?)
  • Product dimensions: 6.08 (w) x 9.36 (h) x 0.58 (d)

Meet the Author

Robin S. Doak has been writing for children for more than 19 years. A former editor of Weekly Reader and U*S*Kids magazine, Doak has authored fun and educational materials for kids of all ages. She is a past winner of the Educational Press Association of America Distinguished Achievement Award. She lives with her family in Maine.
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Table of Contents

Ocean Voyage 9
Out of Africa 15
Little Slave 21
An Unusual Girl 33
Trip to England 47
The Book 57
Free! 65
Poet of the Revolution 73
A Place in History 89
Life and Times 96
Life at a Glance 102
Additional Resources 103
Glossary 105
Source Notes 106
Select Bibliography 108
Index 109
Image Credits 112
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