Publishers Weekly - Publisher's WeeklyAs the Civil War rages, 11-year-old Maddie and her family live enslaved on a plantation in North Carolina. First-novelist Forrester conveys the setting with accuracy, but populates it with stock characters who either deal out or endure familiar hardships. The narrative ventures into unexplored territory, though, when the family escapes from their owners' summer home on the Outer Banks to a Union-held island. They build a house and, for the duration of the war, remain there in a model community, which Forrester bases on a settlement that did exist on Roanoke Island. Maddie's father joins the Union Army, and she teaches reading and "ciphering," first on her own and then as the assistant of a Northern teacher, Miss James. The development of themes and plot lines is fairly conventional, but the author's focus on the Roanoke Island community gives this work unusual interest. Ages 10-14. (Feb.)
Children's Literature - Leila ToledoWhat was it like for slaves during the Civil War? What were their thoughts? What did the word freedom mean to them? Through the eyes of Maddie and her family, you can feel the anguish, the uncertainty and the joys experienced by slaves during this little known period of history. The significant events take place on Roanoke Island along the Outer Banks of the North Carolina coast. To this day, this area is still inhabited by descendants of the freed slaves who settled there during and following the Civil War.
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