Cover image for Unbound : a novel in verse
Title:
Unbound : a novel in verse
ISBN:
9780545934275
Edition:
First edition.
Physical Description:
345 pages ; 21 cm
Reading Level:
900 L Lexile
Summary:
The day nine-year-old Grace is called to work in the kitchen in the Big House, everyone warns her to keep her head down and her thoughts to herself, but the more she sees of the oppressive Master and his hateful wife, the more she questions things until one day her thoughts escape--and to avoid being separated she and her family flee into the Dismal Swamp, to join the other escaped slaves who live there.
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Summary

Summary

The day Grace is called from the slave cabins to work in the Big House, Mama makes her promise to keep her eyes down. Uncle Jim warns her to keep her thoughts tucked private in her mind or they could bring a whole lot of trouble and pain.



But the more Grace sees of the heartless Master and hateful Missus, the more a rightiness voice clamors in her head-asking how come white folks can own other people, sell them on the auction block, and separate families forever. When that voice escapes without warning, it sets off a terrible chain of events that prove Uncle Jim's words true. Suddenly, Grace and her family must flee deep into the woods, where they brave deadly animals, slave patrollers, and the uncertainty of ever finding freedom.



With candor and compassion, Ann E. Burg sheds light on a startling chapter of American history--the remarkable story of runaways who sought sanctuary in the Great Dismal Swamp--and creates a powerful testament to the right of every human to be free.


Author Notes

Ann Burg's debut novel, ALL THE BROKEN PIECES (2009), was named a Jefferson Cup award winner and an IRA Notable Book for a Global Society, among its many honors. Her follow-up, SERAFINA'S PROMISE (2013), was named an ALA Notable, Parents' Choice Gold Award Winner, and an NAACP Image Award finalist. Burg worked as an English teacher for ten years before becoming a full-time writer. She lives in Rhinebeck, New York, with her family. You can visit her online at www.annburg.com


Reviews 4

School Library Journal Review

Gr 4-8-Grace, age nine, is enslaved on a plantation with her mother, brothers, and stepfather. She tends the boys while the others work in the field, but now, because of her light skin, she has been called up to the big house. Grace promises her mother she will keep her eyes down and not speak what is on her mind, but she finds that nearly impossible, especially when the master's wife is cruel to both Grace and the slaves around her. Grace and her family are forced to flee after she breaks her promise, and face the dangers of the swamp. This novel in verse highlights a little-known hiding place of escaped slaves, the Great Dismal Swamp, which covers parts of Virginia and North Carolina. Burg gives voice to enslaved children and their heartbreaking stories. Bahni Turpin brings the tale alive with her narration, while occasional music adds atmosphere. An author's note at the end discusses the historical aspects. VERDICT This is a welcome addition to school and public library historical fiction collections. ["An ideal selection for classrooms and libraries and would incorporate easily into history and social studies curricula across a wide grade range, from upper elementary through middle school": SLJ 8/16 review of the Scholastic book.]-Elizabeth Elsbree, Krug Elementary School, Aurora, IL © Copyright 2017. Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.


Publisher's Weekly Review

Written in clipped verse, Burg's third novel, after All the Broken Pieces and Serafina's Promise, follows nine-year-old Grace, who is called up from the slave cabins to work in the Big House. Grace's mother warns her to keep her eyes down and her mouth shut, but her youth and strong sense of morality and fairness make it difficult to bite her tongue: "I wonder why/ Master n the Missus/ get to eat right early/ in the morning/ n them what's been workin/ got to wait till/ the midday bell." When Grace talks back to the Missus, causing her mother and younger brothers to be sent to the auction block, Grace and her family flee the plantation and go deep, seeking refuge in the Great Dismal Swamp. Based on historical events and an actual refuge for escaped slaves, the family's journey through the swamp is harrowing, yet Burg's colloquial verse gives Grace a strong, distinct voice, allowing her emotion and determination to shine. Grace's story of familial love, community, and hope is a moving, sensitive read. Ages 9-12. Agent: Jodi Reamer, Writers House. (Sept.) © Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved.


Horn Book Review

Young Grace is plucked from her family to serve Master and Missus in the "Big House." When she bravely resists and speaks her mind, Grace's family flees the plantation and seeks refuge in the Great Dismal Swamp. This story in verse pulls readers in through dialogue and imagery, illuminating the horror of slavery and the real history of the Great Dismal Swamp sanctuary. (c) Copyright 2017. The Horn Book, Inc., a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.


Booklist Review

Young Grace is both frightened and resentful at the prospect of working in the Big House, away from Mama and the rest of her family in the slave cabins. Promise you'll keep your mouth closed, Mama exhorts her. But when Grace balks at Big House routines, gets on the wrong side of the cruel Missus, and overhears plans to sell her family as a punishment for her perceived impudence, her family's daring plot to run away and live in the Great Dismal Swamp takes hold. Burg's compelling story in verse clips along with a lyrical rhythm. Providing strong suspense and vivid imagery, the survival tale conveys the terror and dehumanization of slavery, a girl's courage and growing sense of self amid terrible odds, and a family's binding love and unyielding spirit. The cadences offer excellent choral reading possibilities and a glimpse into the little-known existence of covert slave communities in the Great Dismal Swamp of Virginia and North Carolina during slavery years. An illuminating and affecting story.--O'Malley, Anne Copyright 2016 Booklist