Wednesday, December 22, 2010

Book Review- A Picture of Freedom (Dear America Series), The Diary of Clotee, A Slave Girl

By Patricia C McKissack
Published by Scholastic
To Be Released on January 1st, 2011
Ages 8-12
Source- Scholastic
5 Stars- I Highly Recommend It

Coretta Scott King Award winner and Newbery Honor author Patricia McKissack's inspiring A PICTURE OF FREEDOM is now back in print with a gorgeous new cover! It's 1859 and Clotee, a twelve-year-old slave, has the most wonderful, terrible secret. She knows that if she shares it with the wrong person, she will face unimaginable consequences. What is her secret? While doing her job of fanning her master's son during his daily lessons, Clotee has taught herself to read and write. However, she soon learns that the tutor, Ely Harms, has a secret of his own. In a time when literacy is one of the most valuable skills to have, Clotee is determined to use her secret to save herself, and her family (quoted from Goodreads).

This is one of the most fascinating books I've read in the Dear America series. Twelve year old Clotee is a true heroine in every sense of the word. Her journal gives a vivid detail of what slavery is like in the year 1859 and what it's like for those trying to free those who are forced into a life serving others.

What I found most fascinating about Clotee, is her quest for knowledge and an education. She yearns for Freedom and in so doing, she helped saved the lives of other slaves and become a conductor, as part of the Under Ground Railroad.

Clotee's story is heart wrenching, hopeful and one that transforms the reader back to a time that divided our nation and paints a very vivid picture of slavery in the reader's mind. Like the other stories I've read in this series, it's one that needs to be in a classroom setting. It's a brilliantly written historical fiction, that shares facts and historical truths from this era at the end of the story. The pages of this story give everything a student needs to gain an understanding during this time in our nation's history and for those who already know the history, it allows us to gain a different perspective from the eyes of a 12 yr old girl who's lived it.

Mixed with fiction and nonfiction alike, Clotee's story, like the rest of the books in the Dear America series, will keep readers both young and hold captivated by the history presented in each of these unique stories.

I would be most content if my children grew up to be the kind of people who think decorating consists mostly of building enough bookshelves. ~ Anna Quindlen

Good children's literature appeals not only to
the child in the adult, but to the adult in the child.
~ Anonymous ~