The Listeners

( 2 )

Overview

Ella May lives on a plantation but she doesn't live in the great house. She is a slave. It's dark in the morning when Ella May heads to the fields to pick cotton. And it's sunset when she comes home. But her day isn't done, not yet. Ella May still has important work to do. She's got to listen. Each night Ella May and her friends secretly listen outside the windows of their master's house. The children listen in the hopes of gleaning information about their fates and those of their loved ones. Who will be sold? ...
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The Listeners

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Overview

Ella May lives on a plantation but she doesn't live in the great house. She is a slave. It's dark in the morning when Ella May heads to the fields to pick cotton. And it's sunset when she comes home. But her day isn't done, not yet. Ella May still has important work to do. She's got to listen. Each night Ella May and her friends secretly listen outside the windows of their master's house. The children listen in the hopes of gleaning information about their fates and those of their loved ones. Who will be sold? Who will stay? The lives of slaves depended on the inclinations of their owners. They had no control over their daily lives or futures. But they could dream. And when the promise of freedom appears on the horizon, the children are the first to hear it. Gloria Whelan's other titles in the Tales of Young Americans series include Friend on Freedom River (Jefferson Cup honor book) and Mackinac Bridge: The Story of the Five-Mile Poem (2007 Michigan Notable Book). Ms. Whelan lives in Michigan. Mike Benny's illustrations have appeared in Time, GQ, and The New Yorker magazines. His awards include three gold and two silver medals from the Society of Illustrators. He also illustrated America's White Table. Mike lives in Austin, Texas.
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Editorial Reviews

Children's Literature - Leila Toledo
This story has an interesting perspective. It shows what life is like slave children but also the important role that they play in the life of their family. Parents have no control over their children's lives because their children are slaves. Parents don't know if their children will be sold to someone else, whether they will have decent clothes for the winter or whether the new boss that is coming will be a nice or a mean person. So, the job of Ella May and her friends Sue and Bobby is to go up to the big house every night after they have picked cotton all day, and listen at the window of their master about events that affect the plantation and what is going on outside the plantation. This, of course, was before air conditioning so windows were kept open for the cooling evening breeze. Ella May and her friends hear various things that affect them and their families. They return and tell their parents. Sometimes the news is good and sometimes it is not so good. The story ends with the children returning and telling their parents that they have a new president, Abraham Lincoln, and he is going to free the slaves. What a happy time for Ella May, her family and the other slaves. This is part of the "Tales of Young Americans" series. Reviewer: Leila Toledo
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9781585364190
  • Publisher: Sleeping Bear Press
  • Publication date: 9/8/2009
  • Series: Tales of Young Americans
  • Pages: 32
  • Sales rank: 345,138
  • Age range: 5 - 11 Years
  • Product dimensions: 9.40 (w) x 11.20 (h) x 0.50 (d)

Meet the Author

Gloria Whelan
Gloria Whelan

National Book Award-winning author Gloria Whelan weaves rich historical detail into this compelling mystery. Ms. Whelan is the bestselling author of many novels for young readers, including Homeless Bird, winner of the National Book Award, Parade of Shadows, and Listening for Lions. She lives in northern Michigan.

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Customer Reviews

Average Rating 5
( 2 )
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Sort by: Showing all of 2 Customer Reviews
  • Posted September 30, 2009

    I Also Recommend:

    A Must Have for All Homes, Beautiful Illustrations, Moving story

    This book is absolutely beautiful!! I bought it for the cover but was thrilled when I got into it. The story is so sweet - about slave children that have to"spy" on the onwers and report to their parents. The illustrations are absolutely gorgeous and are packed with details- my kids especially love the spanish moss dripping from the trees and the fireflies. The kids faces are so sweet and full of emotion that you just want to grab them and hug them. In times like these when things are stressed and people are grumpy this book made my family realize how lucky we are, the importance of family and hope!!! I highly recommend this and all books by the illustrator Mike Benny.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted February 7, 2012

    No text was provided for this review.

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