Skip to Content

Blogger Book Club

Monday, March 12, 2018

Unbound: A Novel In Verse by Ann E. Burg

UnboundToday, most nine year old kids are lucky.  They go to school, play with their friends, and can be free to travel.  They do not get up before sunrise to start working in a run-down cabin in the south. 
Grace is not lucky.  She is a good, family oriented nine year old girl who lives with her mother, stepfather "Uncle" Jim, Aunt Sara, and her brothers Thomas and Willy.  They are slaves that belong to Master Allen.  Every day, Grace helps her mama take care of her brothers, Thomas and Willy, or some other job that needs to be done.  When mama tells her that she has to work at the kitchen at the big house, Grace is sad and scared to leave her family. But, she is not given a choice.   
Grace works in the kitchen with Aunt Tempie, a smart slave who keeps Master Allen and his Missus happy while trying to keep Grace from getting in trouble.  That's hard to do.  All Grace sees is that other fellow slaves are terrified and miserable around her.  Anna, the maid who takes care of the Missus, gets whipped for being too slow.  Jordon, the footman, hasn't seen his wife and child for many years.  It's too hard for Grace to keep quiet and do her work. 

Grace chooses to run away with her family. Some slaves ran to the northern states.  Others slaves chose to make communities in the south, in remote places where they would be safer.  They were called maroons.   Maroon communities were started in the Great Dismal Swamp, a tract of land between southeast Virginia and northeast North Carolina.  Grace and her family find safety on an island in the middle of this swamp.  For once, she enjoys freedom.

This story had just enough tension that I could not put it down.  The fear and sadness slaves endured came out in every word of the free verse.  Ms. Burg included a lot of hints at the violence without the awful details.  Readers in grades three to six will enjoy this quick historical fiction book.

For students in grades four to six, Tennessee  Rose by Jane Kendall might be great.  The main character is a horse that chooses to help Levi, his enslaved groomer, escape during the Civil War.  Like Grace, he just does not understand why slaves are treated so inhumanely.  This prose style chapter book shows the same point of view about, slavery, a cruel institution. 

Labels: , , , , , , ,

Blog Home

Subscribe to Blogger Book Club
by Email

Book Links

Current Reviews

Keep up with what's new
for kids with the
YS news blog:

News in Youth Services


Powered by Blogger