HOME SCHOOL BOOK REVIEW
Book: Seven Miles to Freedom: The Robert Smalls Story
Author: Janet Halfmann
Illustrator: Duane Smith
Publishser: Lee and Low Books Inc., 2008
Language level: 1 (nothing objectionable)
Reading level: Ages 6-11
Rating: 5 stars (EXCELLENT)
Reviewed by Wayne S. Walker
Halfmann, Janet. Seven Miles to Freedom: The Robert Smalls Story (published in 2008 by Lee and Low Books Inc.). This is a true story about Robert Smalls, a slave born in 1839, who lived in South Carolina. While his master was kind to him, he grew to hate slavery because he saw the terrible treatment of other slaves. Working in Charleston, where he married and had children, he learned how to pilot steamboats along the coast. Following the attack on Ft. Sumter and the beginning of the American Civil War, Robert, his family, and his crew made plans for a daring escape to the Union forces. You will want to read this book to see how they tried to get away and if their plan succeeded.
Biographical accounts, such as this one, which tell about interesting and exciting events in the lives of important people, whether famous or not, are an excellent way to learn more about the history of our nation. The author concludes with an Afterword which relates further information about the life of Robert Smalls and his role as a true hero in the story of African-American advancement, along with a list of sources in case anyone would like to do further study. This book is both fun and educational, and I think that children will like reading it immensely, as I did.