Prisoner for Liberty by Marty Rhodes Figley, Craig Orback |, Paperback | Barnes & Noble
Prisoner for Liberty

Prisoner for Liberty

by Marty Rhodes Figley, Craig Orback
     
 

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James Forten knew how important freedom was. He was a free African American born in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. When the American Revolution started in 1776, James was too young to help fight for freedom from British rule. But in 1781, at age fifteen, he took a job on the Royal Louis, an American ship. A British warship soon captured the Royal Louis. James was

Overview

James Forten knew how important freedom was. He was a free African American born in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. When the American Revolution started in 1776, James was too young to help fight for freedom from British rule. But in 1781, at age fifteen, he took a job on the Royal Louis, an American ship. A British warship soon captured the Royal Louis. James was taken prisoner. The British often sold African American prisoners into slavery. What would happen to James? Would he ever see his family again?

Editorial Reviews

Booklist
In dramatic words and vivid paintings, this entry in the On My Own History series celebrates the heroism of an African American teen in the Revolutionary War. Born free, 15-year-old James Forten joined the crew of the Royal Louis as a sailor. When the British captured the ship, he refused the chance to escape to help a sickly white friend. An impressive bibliography suggests that the narrative's dramatized passages have been thoughtfully reconstructed, and a foreword and afterword frame the incident. This inspiring, personal story will help draw early readers into U.S. history.
—Hazel Rochman
Children's Literature - Caroline B. Hopenwasser
James Forten is a free African American living in Philadelphia at the time of the Revolutionary War. Though he was only fifteen at the time, James wanted to be part of the colonies' fight for independence from Great Britain. He worked carrying gunpowder to the cannons aboard a warship. When the warship surrendered to the British, James became a prisoner of war. Though the captain of his British captors offered James a chance to return to England with him and his son, James refused to leave his home. He was sent to the prison ship, Jersey, and forced to live in horrible conditions for seven months. Though the story focuses on this time of his life, an afterward provides a brief glimpse at his adult life as well. This book was obviously designed with struggling readers in mind, attempting to capture their attention by presenting a historical youth with whom they could relate. Though the language is somewhat stilted in this text, the character is interesting and might capture the attention of students not otherwise disposed to read history on their own. Reviewer: Caroline B. Hopenwasser
School Library Journal

Gr 2-4

This easy reader presents an episode from the life of an African American who took part in the American Revolution. The son of free African-American parents, 15-year-old James Forten was proud to be fighting for freedom from Great Britain. When the ship that he served on was captured, he was taken aboard the British warship Amphion as a prisoner, where he befriended the captain's son during a game of marbles. Impressed with Forten's bravery and kindness, Captain Bazely offered him an education and privileged life in Britain. Forten was no traitor, however, and chose the prison ship, where he spent seven months under terrible conditions. A preface and afterword supply more details about Forten's life before and after the war. Although there may be fictionalization, a bibliography with primary sources suggests the depth of the author's research. Orback's paintings add to the narrative's dramatic moments and provide period details, though the figures sometimes appear stiff. Forten's life has been covered at a slightly higher reading level in Eloise Greenfield's How They Got Over: African Americans and the Call of the Sea (HarperCollins, 2003). Figley's accessible account will prove useful in studies of the American Revolution and African-American history.-Jackie Partch, Multnomah County Library, Portland, OR

Product Details

ISBN-13:
9780822590224
Publisher:
Lerner Publishing Group
Publication date:
02/01/2009
Series:
On My Own History Series
Edition description:
Reprint
Pages:
48
Sales rank:
497,139
Product dimensions:
5.80(w) x 8.30(h) x 0.30(d)
Lexile:
440L (what's this?)
Age Range:
7 - 9 Years

Meet the Author

Marty Rhodes Figley is a writer of books for young readers. She is also the author of Saving the Liberty Bell, The Schoolchildren's Blizzard, and Washington is Burning (all OMO History).

Known for his realistic yet painterly works, Craig Orbach has illustrated of a number of books in the On My Own series, as well as the the Kar-Ben picture book, Keeping The Promise: A Torah's Journey, and the Millbrook picture book Nature's Paintbox: A Seasonal Gallery of Art and Verse.

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