Monday, March 19, 2012

Marvelous Middle Grade Monday: Crossing to Freedom

Today’s pick:  Crossing to Freedom  by Virginia Frances Schwartz

Scholastic, 2010

From the Publisher:
Eleven-year-old Solomon is a fugitive slave on a dangerous journey north to Canada, and to freedom. His young life has seen many losses: his mother was sold in a slave auction when he was a baby; his father escaped from the plantation and hasn’t been seen in five years; and now his grandfather, who has been injured during the last leg of their journey to freedom, and is forced to stay behind.

Solomon continues with their group leader, but his feelings of loss and isolation haunt him, as he attempts to forge a new home in Canada.

It soon becomes apparent that racial prejudices know no borders, and while Solomon works hard and begins to experience some newfound freedoms, he faces discrimination and segregation and lives with the ongoing fear of being caught by slavecatchers and dragged back to the South.

With all of these barriers facing him, Solomon must find the strength — the same strength that brought him north, the same strength that gives him hope of finding his father — to persevere and understand the true meaning of freedom.

My Take: 
This story opened my eyes to a part of history I hadn’t known much about before. But even though there is a wealth of carefully researched historical information in this novel, it’s woven naturally into a suspenseful story. I worried right along with Solomon about whether he’d find his father or his grandfather again, and how he would fit into his new life and find the person he wanted to be. Solomon’s strong voice kept me inside the story. As a writer, I admire the way the author uses visual and other sensory images in her writing. I would read this novel again.

Other Info:
Virginia Frances Schwartz says: “As a writer, I sit down at my desk, or lie in a field studying clouds in the sky, and listen carefully to the words in my head, the same way I did as a child. I try to get them down as fast as I can at first and do a lot of revision later. The words often come in a rush and my hand moves so fast, it hurts.”

 “Your notebook has the greatest memory. It’s like a computer. It traps words like a spider’s web.”
She has written two other books about slavery, Send One Angel Down and If I Just Had Two Wings.

This book is nominated for the Ontario Library Association’s Forest of Reading in the Silver Birch (Fiction) category for 2012. I’ve profiled some of the other nominated books: Ghosts of the TitanticNeil Flambe and the Aztec Abduction, That Boy Red, The Glory Wind, Ghost Messages, and Undergrounders.
Other books by this author include:


4 Kids in 5E and One Crazy Year

If I Just Had Two Wings

Send One Angel Down

Looking for more MMGM? Check out these links:
  • Joanne Fritz @ My Brain on Books
  • Shannon Messenger @ Ramblings of a Wannabe Scribe
  • Shannon O'Donnell @ Book Dreaming
  • Sherrie Petersen @ Write About Now
  • Brooke Favero @ Somewhere in the Middle
  • Myrna Foster @ Night Writer
  • Ally Beecher @ Kid Lit Frenzy
  • Barbara Watson @ Novel and Nouveau
  • Deb Marshall @ Just Deb!
  • Anita Laydon Miller's Middle Grade Blog
  • Michael G-G @ Middle Grade Mafioso
  • Natalie Aguirre @ Literary Rambles
  • Ms. Yingling @ Ms. Yingling Reads
  • Jennifer Rumberger
  • Pam Torres @ So I'm Fifty
  • Mary @ Writer's Butt Does Not Apply to Me
  • The Accidental Novelist
  • G.S. Prendergast @ Angelhorn
  • Gina Carey
  • Nye Louwen - My Spirit

    1. I love when historical fiction weaves the history in the story naturally. This sounds great. Thanks for sharing it.

    2. Interesting! I like historical fiction and learning something while enjoying a story. This sounds right up my alley.

    3. I read a lot of historical fiction and find it's the way I learn history best. The way you stated that you "worried right along with Solomon" lets readers know they will become the story as they read. I love that quality in a book.

    4. Gosh, Andrea. I'm amazed I haven't heard of this book until now. Anything with lots of sensory images has to be good!

      1. I learned something from it, so that made it interesting for me.

    5. Thanks for sharing this one. Was not familiar with but will be sure to get and read. And so the TBR pile grows!

    6. Sounds like a great read and it's going to make my tbr list grow even more. :)


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