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FREEWATER

An exceptional addition to the resistance stories of enslaved people.

Awards & Accolades

Our Verdict

  • Our Verdict
  • GET IT


  • New York Times Bestseller


  • Newbery Winner

Two youngsters escaping slavery find refuge.

Twelve-year-old Homer and his little sister, Ada, become separated from their mother as they attempt to flee enslavement on the Southerland plantation. They are rescued by Suleman, who takes them deep into the Great Dismal Swamp, where they join Freewater, a community of people who successfully fled from slavery and children who were born there. They work together to remain free, support one another, and remember the history of their founding. Suleman is one of the men who patrols the swamp, watching for any who would seek to reenslave them. He and others raid neighboring plantations for supplies. Freeborn Sanzi, 12, is determined to be a hero like Suleman—even if it gets her into trouble—and when her efforts go badly wrong, it places their settlement in danger. Meanwhile, back at Southerland, Homer’s mother has been caught and severely whipped. This does not keep Homer’s friend Anna from plotting her own escape while Homer seeks a way to rescue his mother. Set in a fictional community but based on real stories of those who fled slavery and lived secretly in Southern swamps, this is detailed and well-researched historical fiction. The characters are varied, complex, and fully realized. Descriptions of the setting are so vivid that it becomes a key aspect of the narrative. The page-turning action will engage readers as the story reaches a satisfying conclusion.

An exceptional addition to the resistance stories of enslaved people. (author's note) (Historical fiction. 8-12)

Pub Date: Feb. 1, 2022

ISBN: 978-0-316-05661-8

Page Count: 416

Publisher: Little, Brown

Review Posted Online: Nov. 29, 2021

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Dec. 15, 2021

CHARLOTTE'S WEB

The three way chats, in which they are joined by other animals, about web spinning, themselves, other humans—are as often...

A successful juvenile by the beloved New Yorker writer portrays a farm episode with an imaginative twist that makes a poignant, humorous story of a pig, a spider and a little girl.

Young Fern Arable pleads for the life of runt piglet Wilbur and gets her father to sell him to a neighbor, Mr. Zuckerman. Daily, Fern visits the Zuckermans to sit and muse with Wilbur and with the clever pen spider Charlotte, who befriends him when he is lonely and downcast. At the news of Wilbur's forthcoming slaughter, campaigning Charlotte, to the astonishment of people for miles around, spins words in her web. "Some Pig" comes first. Then "Terrific"—then "Radiant". The last word, when Wilbur is about to win a show prize and Charlotte is about to die from building her egg sac, is "Humble". And as the wonderful Charlotte does die, the sadness is tempered by the promise of more spiders next spring.

The three way chats, in which they are joined by other animals, about web spinning, themselves, other humans—are as often informative as amusing, and the whole tenor of appealing wit and pathos will make fine entertainment for reading aloud, too.

Pub Date: Oct. 15, 1952

ISBN: 978-0-06-026385-0

Page Count: 192

Publisher: Harper/HarperCollins

Review Posted Online: Sept. 14, 2011

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Oct. 1, 1952

STEALING HOME

An emotional, much-needed historical graphic novel.

Sandy and his family, Japanese Canadians, experience hatred and incarceration during World War II.

Sandy Saito loves baseball, and the Vancouver Asahi ballplayers are his heroes. But when they lose in the 1941 semifinals, Sandy’s dad calls it a bad omen. Sure enough, in December 1941, Japan bombs Pearl Harbor in the U.S. The Canadian government begins to ban Japanese people from certain areas, moving them to “dormitories” and setting a curfew. Sandy wants to spend time with his father, but as a doctor, his dad is busy, often sneaking out past curfew to work. One night Papa is taken to “where he [is] needed most,” and the family is forced into an internment camp. Life at the camp isn’t easy, and even with some of the Asahi players playing ball there, it just isn’t the same. Trying to understand and find joy again, Sandy struggles with his new reality and relationship with his father. Based on the true experiences of Japanese Canadians and the Vancouver Asahi team, this graphic novel is a glimpse of how their lives were affected by WWII. The end is a bit abrupt, but it’s still an inspiring and sweet look at how baseball helped them through hardship. The illustrations are all in a sepia tone, giving it an antique look and conveying the emotions and struggles. None of the illustrations of their experiences are overly graphic, making it a good introduction to this upsetting topic for middle-grade readers.

An emotional, much-needed historical graphic novel. (afterword, further resources) (Graphic historical fiction. 9-12)

Pub Date: Oct. 5, 2021

ISBN: 978-1-5253-0334-0

Page Count: 112

Publisher: Kids Can

Review Posted Online: June 28, 2021

Kirkus Reviews Issue: July 15, 2021

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