Stealing Freedom

( 24 )

Overview

Inspired by a true story, the riveting novel of a young slave girl's harrowing escape to freedom on the Underground Railroad.

The moment Ann Maria Weems was born, her freedom was stolen from her. Like her family and the other slaves on the farm, Ann works from sunup to sundown and obeys the orders of her master. Then one day, Ann's family — the only joy she knows — is gone. Just 12 years old, Ann is overcome by grief, struggling to get through each day. And her only hope of ...

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Stealing Freedom

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Overview

Inspired by a true story, the riveting novel of a young slave girl's harrowing escape to freedom on the Underground Railroad.

The moment Ann Maria Weems was born, her freedom was stolen from her. Like her family and the other slaves on the farm, Ann works from sunup to sundown and obeys the orders of her master. Then one day, Ann's family — the only joy she knows — is gone. Just 12 years old, Ann is overcome by grief, struggling to get through each day. And her only hope of stealing back her freedom and finding her family lies in a perilous journey: the Underground Railroad.

Ann Maria Weems was an actual slave who lived in the mid-1800s near the author's home in Maryland.

A novel based on the events in the life of a young slave girl from Maryland who endures all kinds of mistreatment and cruelty, including being separated from her family, but who eventually escapes to freedom in Canada.

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Editorial Reviews

From the Publisher
"A deftly crafted story with a strong, appealing heroine." — School Library Journal, Starred

"Imaginatively and sensitively adapted from historical records, [Stealing Freedom] will evoke admiration for the courage of both those who resisted slavery and those who endured it." — Publishers Weekly, Starred

"Riveting . . . a thrilling and hopeful novel." — Columbus Dispatch

Publishers Weekly - Publisher's Weekly
In a starred review,PW called this novel, based on the life of a slave who disguised herself as a boy and escaped at age 13, "dramatic, often poignant." Ages 10-up. (Jan.) Copyright 2001 Cahners Business Information.
Children's Literature - Dr. Judy Rowen
Ann Maria Weems and her family work for the Prices at their inn and farm. Ann's father is a freeman, but Ann, her siblings and her mother are slaves. Despite this, the love in their family fills the days with joy. Master Price's gambling debts mount, and changes come to the household. When he sells a young slave who everyone knows is his own son, the Weems family becomes concerned. Soon, Ann's brothers are sold deep into the south. The Vigilance Committee helps John Weems buy his wife and daughter Catharine's freedom, but Ann must stay (for now) with the Prices. Eventually, it is time for 12-year-old Ann to "steal freedom" and flee to Canada. A $500 reward has been announced, but Ann and her friends on the Underground Railroad help her assume a new identity-she becomes a boy and successfully escapes. The author has painstakingly recreated mid-nineteenth century Maryland to tell the compelling, true story of Ann Maria Weems.
School Library Journal
Gr 6-10--A deftly crafted story, based on the life of Ann Maria Weems, who was born into slavery in Maryland in the 1840s. Despite the grim realities of her situation, Ann Maria grows up secure in the love of her family. However, her master's debts are many and so her beloved brothers are sold without warning. Abolitionists are able to buy the freedom of the rest of the family, but the master refuses to part with Ann Maria. She suffers regularly at the hands of her mistress, a woman barren, it seems, in both body and soul. At first, Ann Maria nearly succumbs to depression and grief but gradually begins to carve out a life of her own as best she can. She surreptitiously teaches herself to read and falls in love with a neighbor's slave, Alfred. She promises never to leave without him, but there is nothing she can do when she is "kidnapped" by abolitionists and has no way to contact him. Carbone then details the actual route the young woman took and the dangers she faced on the Underground Railroad to Canada. While it is known that the real Alfred escaped to freedom, it is not known whether he and Ann Maria were ever reunited. But there is one source that has led some to believe that they eventually married and it is upon this joyful note that the tale concludes. In the author's note, Carbone sketches the extent of her exhaustive research and provides as much further data on the characters as possible. This is a fine piece of historical fiction with a strong, appealing heroine.--Peggy Morgan, The Library Network, Southgate, MI
Kirkus Reviews
This compelling tale of a passenger on the Underground Railroad is entirely populated with historical figures; not since Gary Paulsen's Nightjohn (1993) has the physical and emotional impact of slavery been made so palpable.
Children's Literature - Amy McMillan
Thirteen-year-old Anne-Marie Weems is living a rather decent life for a southern slave in 1854. Her family resides in a home together, her father is free, and the rest of them work for the Prices, an Irish family who treat them rather well until drought hits, the master's crops fail and his gambling debts mount. Soon her brothers are sold to slave holders in Alabama and before the rest of the family can be separated the Underground Railroad and the Vigilance Committee step in. Her mother and sister's freedoms are purchased but the Prices' refuse to let Anne go. She reluctantly moves with the Prices to Rockville, Maryland but a plan is in the works to steal her to freedom. Strangers risk everything to send her north; she is "kidnapped" from the Prices', spends months in hiding in Washington, DC (where her father, mother and sister are living) and then is disguised as a boy to make the journey to Canada where she is reconnected with an aunt and uncle, making friends, learning to read and falling in love along the way. There is great insight into the inner workings of the Underground Railroad, including people in other countries, aside from just running and brief shelters in the dead of night. The narration was clear and satisfying with voice changes to distinguish between characters and convincing accents (Irish, southern) when applicable; the speed, pleasantly conversational. Highly recommended. Reviewer: Amy McMillan
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780440417071
  • Publisher: Random House Children's Books
  • Publication date: 1/9/2001
  • Edition description: Reissue
  • Pages: 272
  • Sales rank: 172,727
  • Age range: 8 - 12 Years
  • Product dimensions: 5.34 (w) x 7.62 (h) x 0.65 (d)

Meet the Author

Elisa Carbone has lectured about Ann Maria Weems's life to teachers and historians.

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Table of Contents

The Life and Works of Elisa Carbone v
Time Line of Slavery and the Underground Railroad in the United States vi
The Historical Context of Stealing Freedom--The Underground Railroad viii
Characters in Stealing Freedom xii
Echoes xvi
Illustrations xviii
Chapter 11
Chapter 28
Chapter 319
Chapter 427
Respond to the Selection, Chapters 1-4 30
Chapter 532
Chapter 637
Chapter 742
Chapter 849
Respond to the Selection, Chapters 5-8 56
Chapter 958
Chapter 1063
Chapter 1167
Chapter 1274
Chapter 1378
Chapter 1484
Chapter 1588
Respond to the Selection, Chapters 9-15 91
Chapter 1693
Chapter 1799
Chapter 18105
Chapter 19114
Chapter 20120
Respond to the Selection, Chapters 16-20 130
Chapter 21132
Chapter 22137
Chapter 23143
Chapter 24148
Chapter 25152
Chapter 26156
Chapter 27162
Respond to the Selection, Chapters 21-27 171
Chapter 28173
Chapter 29182
Chapter 30192
Chapter 31195
Respond to the Selection, Chapters 28-31 202
Chapter 32204
Chapter 33209
Chapter 34213
Chapter 35218
Chapter 36223
Respond to the Selection, Chapters 32-36 230
Author's Note 232
Plot Analysis of Stealing Freedom 237
Related Readings
from Born in Slavery: Slave Narratives from the Federal Writers' Project, 1936-1938 241
"Harriet Jacob Owns Herself" 245
"Many Thousand Go" 257
"Song of the Fugitive Slave" 259
"I Have a Dream" 263
Creative Writing Activities 268
Critical Writing Activities 270
Projects 272
Glossary of Words for Everyday Use 274
Handbook of Literary Terms 281
Acknowledgments 284
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Customer Reviews

Average Rating 5
( 24 )
Rating Distribution

5 Star

(21)

4 Star

(2)

3 Star

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2 Star

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1 Star

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See All Sort by: Showing 1 – 20 of 24 Customer Reviews
  • Anonymous

    Posted July 6, 2002

    Just Good Book

    You Must read this book. But I am not sure that you will find the intrest in this book. This book is not special or outstanding. This book has lots of lesson. This book is not different from other just 'good' books. But after all, it is good book.

    2 out of 2 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted April 6, 2001

    'Stealing Freedom'

    I thought that this book was not only inspiring but it really helps anyone- no matter 6 or 60 years understand what it was like to be a slave, during the civil war. I am 13 years old, like the main charactor, Ann Marie Weems, who is a slave on a plantation,i can relate to some things, but not a lot. I got the privilage to meet Elisa Carbone (the author) and she told me about how she researsed slavery. I think that it is an outstanding book, that you must read for yourself. PS: it is based on a true story :)

    2 out of 2 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted December 6, 2012

    Stealing freedom

    I loved this fascinating profile of a slave, it was a great book!(:
    Ann- maria is a really interesting character with a very deep train of thought and a friendly, goodhearted personality.

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted February 28, 2013

    Amazing book

    This is an amazing book about slaves and how a girl escapes it is a heart touching story. Read it it eill keep u reading for hours

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted October 7, 2012

    Annoymous

    This book is one of the best books i've ever read!!!!

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted December 30, 2010

    I'm 50 and I loved this book!

    Fascinating read...learned a lot about runaway slaves and their motives for doing so. Based on true story!

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted October 16, 2006

    A Journey from Slavery into Freedom

    In the summer of 1853, many African-Americans were under the law slavery. In Unity, Maryland, the Weems family were one family owned by planters, or owners of the plantation. These planters were Master Charles and Mistress Carol, to which they were called. On the Maryland plantation, corn, tomatoes, beets and cabbage, along with many other harvest vegetables were grown, all by the slaves and their fairly large families. Jobs consisted of growing and pruning, which were work to the men, and inside the home or slave cabin. Labor was very constant, usually from dawn till dusk, and sometimes later to finish the duties in time, risking beatings. Mr. and Mrs.Weems and their children worked a steady and constant pace. Anne Maria was one of the oldest, and one who was put to work most often. Ann Maria enjoyed the constant work and pace. She met many new people, either being brought in or being shipped out. Alfred was one slave friend that Ann Maria grew very close to. Ann Maria had various jobs, such as harvest work and house work. While in the house one day, Ann heard of a man named Mr. Bigelow. She didn¿t know what business he had at their master¿s home. Days and days went by along with the tiresome work. Harvest time was beginning as well as the Great County Fair. Ann had always wished to someday visit the fair, but that day hadn¿t come, yet. Days later, Ann got out of some work and caught up with the fair. So many people and so many things were going on. During the visit to the fair, Ann saw a strange looking man, starring at her everywhere she went. She didn¿t know who he was. She didn¿t know what he was doing. One thing that I really enjoyed about this book, because I knew in my mind that all of the events in the story actually happened in real life, to a real person. This book really pulled me into the story, making me want to know what was going to happen next. I had no real dislikes about the book, because of how real the author put the events. Being able to relate to not just this book, but any book makes, makes it a little bit easier to understand. I think I really liked this book so much was because I could relate. My grandfather has always told me about my grandfathers, and how they conducted the slaves, and how many were actual slaves. My grandfathers took many slaves to their farmsteads, and then farther north to freedom. This book, Stealing Freedom is a great and truthful book. Reading the story really made you realize what really happened in the slavery era in history. This book is not a series. I personally think that anyone would like this book if they are interested in the slavery times or adventure because of the bold and brave steps taken to freedom.

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted August 14, 2013

    1 of my favs

    Love, love, love this book. One of my favorites. A MUST READ!!!

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  • Anonymous

    Posted October 9, 2012

    Good ?

    Is this book good my friend has read it but I have not ?

    0 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted March 6, 2008

    A vivid profile of a slave

    Ann, a slave, gets separated from her family and may never see them again. She risks her life and embarks on a dangerous journey to freedom. This journey is made even harder by knowing that she¿s leaving her boyfriend behind. Stealing Freedom describes Ann¿s awful life as a slave and her struggle to be free. This is a great story that will keep you cheering for Ann and shows you how difficult it was to be a slave. This book does a great job of describing how bad slavery was. Most slaves were treated like animals. Ann¿s mom was forced to have kids so the master could own more slaves. Lots of slave families were split up and sold, even to other states. For example, Ann¿s brothers were sent to Alabama while she stayed in Virginia. Some slave owners made their slaves whip other slaves. The master forced Thomas to whip Alfred because Alfred was late with some groceries. I like how the slaves could be sly and could find ways to resist their masters. Thomas and Alfred had practiced whipping each other, but not quite hitting. They knew the master had a weak stomach, so Thomas would crack the whip a few inches away from Alfred. Ann has to take care of the master¿s young daughter. Ann tricks the daughter into studying the alphabet with her. That way, Ann could learn to read. Some slaves would run away. Part of the book describes Ann¿s epic journey as she escapes to the North. I admired one character named Jacob Bigelow. He was a white man who helped free slaves. First, he tried to buy Ann from her master and reunite her with her family. But the two men couldn¿t agree on a price. Eventually, Mr. Bigelow hired two men to kidnap her and take Ann to Bigelow¿s house. Ann had to hide for a while before she could leave the area. Mr. Bigelow fed her and gave her books to read. Every Sunday, Mr. Bigelow would invite Ann¿s family to come over and visit Ann. This is a great book that vividly tells you how much worse slaves were treated just because of the color of their skin. Stealing Freedom also makes you love and care for Ann. Fortunately, at the end of the story, Ann finally lands in Canada where her aunt and uncle live, and where there is no slavery. Anyone who wants to understand the daily struggle of slaves should read this book. S.Howard

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  • Anonymous

    Posted March 18, 2003

    Stealing Freedom

    It is a great story, about Ann Maria Weems. I felt like I was Ann at some parts just saying, 'Come on.' or convincing myself that i can do it. This autour makes you feel happy and sad. The book also gives you a good taste of the mied-1800's and travling on the Underground Railroad. i reccomend this books to 11-year-olds or any age around that.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted March 18, 2003

    Stealing Freedom

    This is the best book on earth. You feel like you are Ann Maria Weems with so many decisions to make adn everything happening. You have lost your family and you have to care for a little girl named Sarah, she is cute but annoying. You must walk her to school, get her a drink of water in teh middle of the night... It feels so weird, yet it is amazing since you know it isn't happening to you right now. Ann Maria is sort of like me, just a little. Not really, but pretty close.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted January 18, 2003

    a touching story

    This story is one of the most enjoyable, touching, and awesome stories i have ever read. I have enjoyed this book very much, and it has touched my heart. If you think that this book is 'boring' you might have not really looked into the true meaning of the whole story. This book is a book that i am sure most people will enjoy, and i know that I enjoyed it as well.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted August 19, 2002

    A wonderful book

    This book was a great book about slavery. This true story is hard to belive that it ever happend! I recomend this book to everyone!

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  • Anonymous

    Posted May 20, 2002

    Exceptional!

    I was entralled by this book. Couldn't put it down. Loved every minute as you were never sure what was going to happen to her or her family. Understand a little bit more of how slavery really affected families. This is a true story which means a lot of research went into telling the story. You must read!!

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  • Anonymous

    Posted April 29, 2002

    AWESOME!!!!

    I thought that the book Stealing Freedom was very touching. Also I thought that is was kind of sad in some parts because Ann lost her brothers and the rest of her family. Plus she falls in love with Alfred and she was kidnapped from him.

    0 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted January 22, 2002

    BORING!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

    I read this book several months ago, and found several problems with it: 1. The slaves spoke like middle-class white people 2. There was little excitement or tension in the text 3. a week later I couldn't remember the story!

    0 out of 2 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted April 6, 2011

    No text was provided for this review.

  • Anonymous

    Posted March 22, 2012

    No text was provided for this review.

  • Anonymous

    Posted September 10, 2013

    No text was provided for this review.

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