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STORM WARRIORS by Elisa Carbone

STORM WARRIORS

By Elisa Carbone

Age Range: 11 - 13

Pub Date: Jan. 1st, 2001
ISBN: 0-375-80664-4
Publisher: Knopf

The author of Stealing Freedom (1998) again runs a strong-minded young person headlong into barriers of custom and racial prejudice. Inspired by the camaraderie and quiet heroism of the life-saving crew, with which he shares North Carolina’s lonely Pea Island, Nathan dreams of joining the US Life-Saving Service (a predecessor of the Coast Guard) rather than to be a fisherman like his father. The odds are long—LSS jobs tend to stay within the same local families and in this post-Reconstruction era, the Pea Island crew is the only African-American one on the entire coast. But as Nathan is allowed to take part in life-saving drills, then to watch and even become involved in rescuing the passengers and crews of ships driven onto the area’s rocks by storms, his desire only grows. Carbone draws the crew, their techniques, and the shipwrecks straight from historical records, and though her protagonist is fictional, the harsh attitudes he encounters are all too real. In the end, his ex-slave grandfather’s wise observation, that “sometimes your dreams show up dressed a little different than you thought they’d be” proves prophetic. Nathan finds that his skill in tending to the injured, and his mastery of the station’s first-aid guides, has opened a road to medical school. While every bit as rousing a tale of men against the sea as Donna Hill’s Shipwreck Season (1998), another tribute to the US Life-Saving Service, Nathan’s narrative also creates a vivid picture of his time’s harsh racial storms. (afterword) (Fiction. 11-13)