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FREEDOM TRAIN by evelyn coleman


by evelyn coleman

Age Range: 8 - 12

Pub Date: Jan. 8th, 2008
ISBN: 978-0-689-84716-5
Publisher: McElderry

Clyde Thompson may be the shortest 12-year-old in seventh grade, but he learns to stand tall in this story about the Freedom Train’s arrival in Atlanta in 1949. The train is traveling the country to bring the great freedom documents—the Gettysburg Address, the Constitution, the Bill of Rights—to the American people. Clyde’s older brother Joseph is a guard on the train and has befriended a black man named W.C. Lounds, though Clyde says, “I ain’t never heard of a colored man being a white man’s best friend.” Clyde’s own new friendship with an African-American boy named William Dobbs puts him in the middle of racial tensions in his city, but the courage of William, the example of Joseph and the spirit of freedom represented by the Freedom Train empower Clyde to do the right thing when necessary. The novel is heavy-handed and self-consciously inspirational, but it’s a fine story of a moment in history when times were changing and the Freedom Train reminded Americans of their better selves. (author’s historical note) (Fiction. 8-12)