Blood on the River: James Town 1607

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9780670060603: Blood on the River: James Town 1607

Twelve-year-old Samuel Collier is a lowly commoner on the streets of London. So when he becomes the page of Captain John Smith and boards the ship the Susan Constant, bound for the New World, he can’t believe his good fortune. He’s heard that gold washes ashore with every tide. But beginning with the stormy journey and his first contact with the native people, he realizes that the New World is nothing like he had ever imagined.The lush Virginia shore where they establish the colony of James Town is both beautiful and forbidding, and it’s hard to know who’s a friend or foe. As he learns the language of the Algonquin Indians and observes Captain Smith’s wise diplomacy, Samuel begins to see that he can be whomever he wants to be in this new land.

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About the Author:

Elisa Carbone lives in Maryland and West Virginia.

From School Library Journal:

Starred Review. Grade 5-7–After attempting to steal back a necklace that belonged to his deceased mother, Samuel Collier is sent to an orphanage run by Reverend Hunt. The 11-year-old joins him on a journey to the New World, serving as a page to Captain John Smith. Samuel's account of the voyage to Virginia, political intrigues among the settlers, and the harrowing first winter of the James Town settlement brings to life figures like Smith, Powhatan, and Pocahontas. Details about food and daily life add realism to the story, and quotes from historical sources begin each chapter. This Samuel is more conflicted than the one in Gail Langer Karwoski's Surviving Jamestown: The Adventures of Young Sam Collier (Peachtree, 2001). His initial selfishness changes as he responds to the reverend, to Smith, and to his new friends. His time in an Indian village and his changing perspectives on the Natives add interest to the story and depth to his character. While the opening chapters move slowly, the pace picks up as Samuel reaches Virginia. This title is a good choice for a tie-in with the 400th anniversary celebrations of Jamestown in 2007.–Beth L. Meister, Pleasant View Elementary School, Franklin, WI
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