To Be a Slave

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To be a slave. To be owned by another person, as a car, house, or a table is owned. To live as a piece of property that could be sold...

This book is about how it felt. The words of black men and women who had themselves been slaves are here, accompanied by Julius Lester's historical commentary and Tom Feelings's powerful and muted paintings, To Be a Slave has been a ...
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Overview

To be a slave. To be owned by another person, as a car, house, or a table is owned. To live as a piece of property that could be sold...

This book is about how it felt. The words of black men and women who had themselves been slaves are here, accompanied by Julius Lester's historical commentary and Tom Feelings's powerful and muted paintings, To Be a Slave has been a touchstone in children's literature for over thirty years.

"It is rare to find a book that enables children to identify as compellingly with slaves as this one does." -Publishers Weekly

"From history-and for our time-there's nothing better than To Be a Slave." -The New York Times Book Review

Awards:

A 1969 Newbery Honor Book
An ALA Notable Book
A School Library Journal Best Book of the Year
A Smithsonian Magazine Best Book of the Year

A compilation, selected from various sources and arranged chronologically, of the reminiscences of slaves and ex-slaves about their experiences from the leaving of Africa through the Civil War and into the early twentieth century.

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Editorial Reviews

Children's Literature
A number of books have been written for young people about slavery in the United States, but none could be more powerful and compelling than Lester's award-winning book. Reissued on the thirtieth anniversary of the original publication, this Newbery Honor Book personalizes the hardships and struggles of African-American slaves. What was it like to be a slave? Lester uses the words of slaves and ex-slaves to tell this story. From slave narratives of the 1800s and interviews of ex-slaves conducted by the Federal Writers' Project of the 1930s, the victims describe living conditions under a bondage that negated one's humanity. What emerges is not the stereotypical image of the passive or happy-go-lucky slave. Passion and emotion emanate from these passages, as those affected describe slave trade, the auction block, resistance to slavery, plantation life and emancipation. It is easy to see why this book continues to have appeal after 30 years. The author's goal in allowing readers to experience slaves as human beings has made this book to excel. The dehumanizing aspects of slavery are made abundantly clear, but a testament to the human spirit of those who endured or survived this experience is exalted. 1998 (orig. 1968), Puffin Books/Penguin, $20.00 and $5.99. Ages 10 to 14. Reviewer: Jeanette Lambert
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780590424608
  • Publisher: Scholastic, Inc.
  • Publication date: 2/28/1986
  • Series: Point Series
  • Format: Mass Market Paperback
  • Pages: 156
  • Age range: 10 - 14 Years
  • Lexile: 1080L (what's this?)
  • Product dimensions: 4.22 (w) x 6.71 (h) x 0.45 (d)

Customer Reviews

Average Rating 4
( 10 )
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Sort by: Showing all of 10 Customer Reviews
  • Anonymous

    Posted April 19, 2005

    WOW!!!!!

    This book has made me realized what an awful time slavery was. It was a great and powerful book that I couldn't put down until I was finished, much more interesting than what we learn in school.

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Anonymous

    Posted December 2, 2003

    WANT TO FEEL HOW A SLAVE DID

    this was a great book, had great depth in how it described what a slave really went thru, its very easy to read, no complicated vocabulary, which made everything easy to understand, adn really page by page made u want to read more and more everytime, you really cant put it down, hte pain well described by the real slaves made you feel how cruel people can really be.

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted May 30, 2001

    I am a high school teacher

    I teach at a racially mixed, private school that actively promotes racial reconciliation. Although this book contains poignant and insightful narratives from people who experienced slavery first-hand, I was extremely disappointed that the finaltwo entries portray extreme biogtry and racism toward whites as they discuss the slaves' missed opportunity to 'have had thousands of whites slaughtered' and the closing outlook that 'the white folks have been and are now and always will be against the Negro.'This book missed a powerful opportunity to open dialogue and promote understanding between blacks and whites. Unfortunately, I cannot in good conscience use the book in my classroom or recommend it to others, for the final outlook of the text encourages animosity.

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted March 2, 2012

    Extremely Interesting

    This book does a good job of explaining learned behavior and why it is so hard to change from one generation to the next. Must read for bigots and racists as it gives insight into helping instead of hating.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted February 21, 2003

    COOKIE

    This book makes me feel like im actually in the setting. I would recomend this book to any whose's into slavery.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted October 2, 2002

    Slavery why did it even occur

    To me slavery is a big inpact on american history. This book was a rather great. Why to here directly from a former slaves mouth is a good experience. I would reccomend to anyone that enjoys a good book to read this one. It helps you to better understand slavery by hearing it from an real former slave rather than from a book of ideas of it. In other words I loved this book.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted February 4, 2002

    I hate slavery

    I really enjoyed reading this book cause it taught you about life as a slave and everything they had to go through.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted January 30, 2002

    A slave's point of view

    'To be a slave' is a moving, inspring story told from a collection of slaves' point of view. I think anyone who reads this book can agree with me: 'To be a Slave' gets you into the feel of what being a slave was like 150 years ago.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted February 19, 2010

    No text was provided for this review.

  • Anonymous

    Posted August 25, 2009

    No text was provided for this review.

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