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February 20, 2017


Screen Shot 2017-02-17 at 11.17.33 AMChains

By: Laurie Anderson

If an entire nation could gain its freedom, why can’t a 13 yr. old girl.

Chains is the first book in a three book trilogy called Seeds of America, followed by Forge and Ashes. The author Laurie Anderson is a New York Times bestselling author.   She is famous for writing about tough subjects with sensitivity and some humor. She has been awarded a number of ALA and state awards for her novels.  Chains has earned her the 2009 Scott O’Dell Award for Historical Fiction and Margaret A. Edwards Award.

This story is set in New York City in the spring of 1776, the beginning of the American Revolution.  It addresses the price of freedom for a young 13 yr. old girl named Isabel and her young sister Ruth. They are promised their freedom upon the death of their owner, but instead become the property of her nephew who then sales them to a malicious couple, who have no sympathy for the American Revolution and even less for Isabel and her sister. Isabel is approached by a rebel who also promises her freedom if she agrees to spy on her new owners. Once again she is disappointed and not given her freedom.

Each chapter starts with an advertisement, handbill, newspaper article, or a letter from the time period. “Ouotes from Thomas Paine’s Common Sense and excerpts from letters from Washington, Franklin, and Adams appear throughout the novel.  These elements provide a sense of the time and place for the reader and help posit Isabel’s position in these critical historical events.”

This series is a must read for any history buff.  It ties together fiction and non-fiction from the American Revolution. This was a fast read for me, but I do like history.

Suggested reading level Grades 6-10


Review By: Donna Warfel