Trapped between Lash and Gun

( 4 )

Overview

Jordan is going to join a gang. But just as he's about to start his future with the Cobras, his past calls him back. Way back—to the nineteenth-century, where he meets his ancestors and gets a bitter taste of what life was like for them as slaves. Jordan must live with the constant threat of the whip's lash. His journey back in time will strike a chord with any young person who has felt trapped by hard times and difficult choices.

Twelve-year-old Jordan is becoming ...

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Overview

Jordan is going to join a gang. But just as he's about to start his future with the Cobras, his past calls him back. Way back—to the nineteenth-century, where he meets his ancestors and gets a bitter taste of what life was like for them as slaves. Jordan must live with the constant threat of the whip's lash. His journey back in time will strike a chord with any young person who has felt trapped by hard times and difficult choices.

Twelve-year-old Jordan is becoming dangerously involved with a street gang when he is suddenly transported through time to become a slave on the plantation of his ancestors.

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Editorial Reviews

USA Today
A fast-paced tale. Kids will find Jordan's reactions to his suddenly subhuman statusaffecting and believable.
VOYA - Cindy Lombardo
Juxtaposing modern times and pre-Civil War days, Whitmore crafts a compelling story of a young boy's struggle for identity in the face of peer pressure and lack of male guidance. Twelve-year-old Jordan Scott is determined to stay in "the hood" rather than move to the suburbs with his mother and sister. Intrigued by the security and recognition that gang life seems to offer, Jordan is prepared to pawn his grandfather's cherished gold watch as the price of entry into the Cobras. However, on his way to a meeting Jordan finds himself flung back in time to a place where he can no longer take his personal freedom for granted. Forced to pick cotton with the other slaves, Jordan learns first hand about the cruelty and disregard for human life that characterized life on a plantation. As he comes to know and respect the black men and women who surround him, he realizes that he has a responsibility beyond simply finding the watch and returning to the present. Thanks to the care and compassion of the slaves, Jordan begins to understand that being a man means standing up for what one knows is right, no matter what the personal risk may be.

Whitmore smoothly weaves the strands of history with the quest for personal identity into a story that powerfully illustrates the horrors of slave life. This would be excellent supplementary reading for anyone studying the Civil War or the role that slavery played in the evolution of American culture. Most teens will not pick this up on their own (although the cover art and title may spark interest), so it is an excellent candidate for classroom booktalking.

VOYA Codes: 3Q 3P M J (Readable without serious defects, Will appeal with pushing, Middle School-defined as grades 6 to 8 and Junior High-defined as grades 7 to 9).

Children's Literature - Kathleen Karr
Deciding to leave home to join the hood's crew, twelve-year-old Jordan steals his grandfather's heirloom pocket watch. Before he can pawn it, the watch transports him to a nineteenth-century plantation. His adventures as a slave convince Jordan to get back to his century and rethink his life. A piquant touch is Whitmore's revelation in the author's note of learning of her own partial Afro-American heritage in the course of researching this book.
Kirkus Reviews
Whitmore (The Bread Winner, 1990) writes about a modern child who is uninterested in the suffering of his ancestors until he is forced to live it. Jordan, told to bring money to the gang he has just joined, steals his grandfather's pocket watch, which transports him back in time to the days of slavery. He is put to work as a slave on the plantation where his ancestor, Uriah, is a boy. Determined to find the watch - the key to his return - Jordan works in the cotton fields, is whipped, gets sold, and joins the Underground Railroad before finding his way back to his own time, where the gang waits to make an example of him for trying to get out. This is an exciting read; Whitmore packs in as much information about slavery as possible, which only occasionally interferes with the flow of the story. Jordan's awakening to his heritage and to the consequences of his actions in the present are well done and, in the context of the story, believable. (Fiction. 11-13) .
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780141303192
  • Publisher: Penguin Group (USA) Incorporated
  • Publication date: 1/28/2001
  • Edition description: Reprint
  • Pages: 192
  • Sales rank: 300,839
  • Age range: 8 - 12 Years
  • Product dimensions: 5.06 (w) x 7.74 (h) x 0.55 (d)

Meet the Author

Arvella Whitmore's children's novels include The Bread Winner, an NCSS-CBC Notable Children's Book in the Field of Social Studies. She and her husband reside in Minneapolis, Minnesota.

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Customer Reviews

Average Rating 5
( 4 )
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Sort by: Showing all of 4 Customer Reviews
  • Anonymous

    Posted August 10, 2006

    Interesting

    Hello, I have read this story twice. The first time I read in the book and next I listen on tape. This book is good. I think this book is for sixth grade and up. It had some bad language in there. I really like this book. You have to buy it. Holla and me I'm from East Saint Louis

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  • Anonymous

    Posted February 11, 2003

    An action-packed adventure through time!

    What would you do just to make a quick buck? Steal? Kill? Well for Jordan that's easy. Joining a gang was his way of earning some money. The historical-fiction called Trapped Between the Lash and the Gun by Arvella Whitmore is a story about a 12 year-old and how his bad decisions affect him later on in life. In order to go visit his dad he needs airfare (money for an airplane trip). King, the leader of the Cobras (a street gang) sweet-talks him into joining the gang and promises airfare money. Jordan joins and soon after he's about to get a gun. He needs money so he steals his grandpa's rare and prized watch and heads for a pawnshop. All of the sudden he finds himself in the 1800's! Jordan suspects the watch brought him here, so he must find it to get it back. Jordan encounters many problems in the 19th century like slavery (he becomes a slave) and cotton-picking. The setting is important because the watch was passed down through four generations. The date when it was first made Jordan suddenly appeared there. The author chose this setting probably to show the readers how hard life was for African-Americans in the 19th century. I guess this book was pretty cool. It showed me a lot of stuff. I also learned a lot too. I would recommend this book to anyone who would like to find out how African-Americans lived back then from a slave's point of view.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted April 19, 2014

    No text was provided for this review.

  • Anonymous

    Posted June 21, 2009

    No text was provided for this review.

Sort by: Showing all of 4 Customer Reviews

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