SEAWARD BORN by Lea Wait

SEAWARD BORN

Age Range: 8 - 12

KIRKUS REVIEW

Thirteen-year-old Noah Brown, last seen in Wait’s debut Stopping to Home (2001), tells the story of his escape from slavery. As Michael Lautrec he is hired out to work on the waterfront of Charleston after his parents, one slave, one free, die in a hurricane. Michael loves his work and enjoys his friendship with other hired-out slaves; he keeps in close touch with other Lautrec slaves who form his family. When Mrs. Lautrec, his old mistress, dies, however, everything changes; Anny, Sirrah, and Sam are sold to Alabama, and Jim persuades young Michael to flee. While stowing away on a cargo ship bound for Massachusetts, Michael changes his name to Noah, and begins to take charge of his future. Unfortunately, Noah/Michael’s escape, though fraught with complications, lacks real excitement. Most of the action is revealed through dialogue, and Noah’s voice never quite comes alive. When Jim, a life-long friend, is captured and taken back to slavery, Noah’s response is curiously cold, “They’d found Jim. What would they do? Would Jim say anything about him?” As Noah’s emotional tone remains flat, this becomes less dramatic as a story, but more important as an excellent illumination of conditions and behavior not explored often enough in children’s literature. Those who enjoyed the author’s first work must read this one, too. (Fiction. 8-12)

Pub Date: Jan. 1st, 2003
ISBN: 0-689-84719-X
Page count: 160pp
Publisher: McElderry
Review Posted Online:
Kirkus Reviews Issue: Dec. 15th, 2002




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