I Was Born A Slave: The Story Of Harriet Jacobs

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9780613958301: I Was Born A Slave: The Story Of Harriet Jacobs

Traces the life of a slave who suffered mistreatment from her master, spent years as a fugitive from slavery in North Carolina, and was eventually released to freedom with her children.

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From School Library Journal:

Grade 5-8?Basing her account on Jacobs's autobiography written in 1861, Fleischner presents a moving and readable record of one woman's experiences. Born in Edenton, NC, around 1813, the subject was orphaned at a young age and was raised as a slave. Her grandmother, brother, and other relatives lived nearby. Although Jacobs had been taught to read and write and slept in the slaveholder's house, her life was one of misery and persecution. After the birth of her children, she resolved to obtain her freedom and hid in her grandmother's attic for seven years, watching her children from afar, before she was able to set out for a free state. After the War Between the States, Jacobs devoted her life to the welfare of African-American people living in Georgia, Massachusetts, and Washington, DC. This simplified biography will convey to modern children the mental, physical, and emotional turmoil that slaves were forced to endure. Mary Lyons's Letters from a Slave Girl (Scribners, 1992) contains more information and is more strident, but it is considered a piece of fiction. Reim's powerful, full-page woodcut prints illustrate incidents from Jacobs's life, but have limited child appeal. Nonetheless, this is a poignant introductory personal history.?Debbie Feulner, Northwest Middle School, Greensboro, NC
Copyright 1998 Reed Business Information, Inc.

From Kirkus Reviews:

Bold, black wood-block prints turn this memorable book about the life of a slave into a work of art. African-inspired, the detailed ebony designs printed on tan paper draw readers into Jacobs's life as a slave in North Carolina and her eventual escape (after hiding for seven years in her grandmother's tiny attic) to the North. Despite her suffering at the hands of her owners, Jacobs never became discouraged; she was taught to be independent by her ``gentle mother and proud father.'' Fleischner (The Inuit, 1995, etc.), basing her work on Jacobs's 1861 autobiography, Incidents in the Life of a Slave Girl, writes with great empathy for her subject, and doesn't avoid difficult topics, e.g., the sexual abuse of slave women by their owners is sensitively portrayed. Readers will be introduced to one of the paradoxes in the life of a slave: the desire for freedom. ``In fleeing, [slaves] often left behind the only people they loved to go to a place where they knew no one and could trust no one.'' This is a well-written biography that also sheds light on one of America's darkest and most bitter eras. (bibliography) (Biography. 9-12) -- Copyright ©1997, Kirkus Associates, LP. All rights reserved.

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