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THE FREEDOM OF JENNY by Julie Burtinshaw


by Julie Burtinshaw

Age Range: 8 - 12

Pub Date: March 1st, 2006
ISBN: 1-55192-839-6
Publisher: Raincoast

A former slave with a yen for freedom becomes a pioneer girl in this historical chronicle inspired by experiences of an African-American woman who settled on Salt Spring Island in 1860. Born a slave in Missouri in 1844, independent Jenny Estes dreams of freedom and thrives on stories about the Underground Railroad. When Jenny is seven, her father purchases the family’s freedom and equips a Conestoga wagon to carry them over the Oregon Trail to start a new life in California. Tragedy strikes when Mrs. Estes dies in childbirth, forcing ten-year-old Jenny to take her place. In 1858, the family immigrates to Canada with other former slaves and settles on Salt Spring Island where the teenage Jenny meets new challenges and a future husband. Jenny’s coming-of-age is played out against the backdrop of the Fugitive Slave Act, the California Gold Rush, the Dred Scott Decision and the Civil War, providing a unique perspective on this troubled historical period. Jenny proves a resilient heroine and her story is jam-packed with the stuff of history. (historical note, historical facts, further reading and useful web sites) (Historical fiction. 8-12)