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Paperback Chains Book

ISBN: 1416905863

ISBN13: 9781416905868


(Book #1 in the Seeds of America Series)

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Format: Paperback

Condition: Very Good

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Book Overview

If an entire nation could seek its freedom, why not a girl? As the Revolutionary War begins, thirteen-year-old Isabel wages her own fight...for freedom. Promised freedom upon the death of their owner, she and her sister, Ruth, in a cruel twist of fate become the property of a malicious New York City couple, the Locktons, who have no sympathy for the American Revolution and even less for Ruth and Isabel. When Isabel meets Curzon, a slave with ties...

Customer Reviews

6 ratings

Very nice!

I got one from a library, I wasn't sure how it would turn out, but it looks great! I am very surprised on how nice it truly is! This was the first time from ordering here, and I'm definitely doing it again!

Powerful perseverance

The heroine in Laurie Halse Anderson's gripping new middle level children's book, "Chains" is a thirteen year old slave named Isabel, headstrong, fierce in her determination to keep her epileptic sister Ruth with her, intuitive, and strong. What might fell the mightiest of people only serves to strengthen Isabel, time and time again, proving that determination was much needed during this turbulent time in our nation's history. "Chains" is the children's book of the year. It's that good. Anderson's blending of a slave story with the the Revolutionary War and the battle of New York creates a story ripe with possibilities and is fresh and new. At the beginning of the story, Isabel and Ruth attend the funeral of their former owner, thinking that a will would give them freedom. Alas, it was not to be. An unscrupulous relative sells off the girls to the first customers, a pair of England loyalists named Lockton, who transport the pair to their New York home to serve them. Immediately off the boat, Isabel befriends a spritely lad Curzon, who begs to employ her in the cause of the American Revolution, playing brilliantly on the fact that white society deemed black slaves to be invisible. Only wanting her freedom, Isabel promises nothing but soon delivers, after learning of a plot to kill General Washington. When that doesn't give her freedom, she begins to mistrust the patriots' cause, and learns of the British claim to ensure freedom to any slaves that would join up against the revolution. What makes this book novel is a slavery story set, not in the south, but New York City, which naturally leads to the discussion of how slavery was in our early history throughout the country and not just in one area. It also plays with the themes of which "side" in a war is the good side? Is there a good side or a bad side in a battle? We are taught that the British are the bad guys. Would you feel that way if you were a slave and could get freedom from them? Many events transpire in this amazing book, but just look at the themes that crop up so far: racial invisibility, the British as possibly the "good guys" in the Revolution, the horrors of slavery against the strength of the people who suffered under it. Any of these themes would be a rich discussion to have with kids. Books like these tend to make the history we all learned in school much more real, more deeper, than just a series of dates and numbers to remember. We forget that history is made up of stories, of sides, and "Chains" allows some gentle exploration of those themes. This is the first book I've read of Anderson. Her writing style is brief, fast paced, and complete. As a teacher, I appreciate the short chapters that pack a lot of story into a few pages. This would be an excellent read aloud book for any fourth grade classroom or higher, who are studying these issues in the class. I would love to use this book as a literature study, when it become available in paperback. And I'm now officially a

Richie's Picks: CHAINS

"Two black butterflies danced through a cloud of bugs and disappeared." In the late spring of 1776, at the crudely-marked grave where her mother is buried, a girl named Isabel seeks divine, motherly, guidance. She is here this day because, in the adjoining, whites-only cemetery, they are in the process of burying Miss Mary Finch who has owned Isabel, her little sister Ruth, and their deceased mother. And serious treachery is soon to follow: "I stood up proper, the way I had been taught -- chin up, eyes down -- took Ruth by the hand, and walked over to the men. "'Pardon me, Pastor Weeks, sir,' I said. 'May I ask something?' "He set his hat on his head. 'Certainly, Isabel.' "I held Ruth's hand tighter. 'Where do you think we should go?' "'What do you mean, child?' "'I know I'll find work, but I can't figure where to sleep, me and Ruth. I thought you might know a place.' "Pastor Weeks frowned. 'I don't understand what you're saying, Isabel. You're to return with Mr. Robert here. You and your sister belong to him now.' "I spoke slowly, saying the words I had practiced in my head since Miss Mary Finch took her last breath, the words that would change everything. 'Ruth and me are free, Pastor. Miss Finch freed us in her will. Momma, too, if she had lived. It was done up legal, on paper with wax seals.' "Mr. Robert snorted. 'That's enough out of you, girl. Time for us to be on the road to Newport.' "'Was there a will?' Pastor Weeks asked him. "'She didn't need one,' Mr. Robert replied. 'I was Aunt Mary's only relative.' "I planted my feet firmly in the dirt and fought to keep my voice polite and proper. 'I saw the will, sir. After the lawyer wrote it, Miss Mary had me read it out loud on account of her eyes being bad.' "'Slaves don't read,' Mr. Robert said. 'I should beat you for lying, girl.'" In fact, Miss Mary Finch had taught Isabel to read. Miss Mary Finch had also signed the will. But, of course, the lawyer is gone now, out of touch, somewhere in Boston behind the blockade, and Miss Mary is dead. And so Isabel, who has been waiting day after day for this particular day to arrive, is, instead, hastily sold by Mr. Robert, along with Ruth, to a Loyalist couple preparing to head home to what is now lower Manhattan. Thus begins the horror show that is the result of Isabel being under the ownership of the despicable Mrs. Anne Lockton. Meanwhile, the Revolutionary war is being waged at close proximity around them. Over the past year, I have been repeatedly booktalking Christopher Paul Curtis's ELIJAH OF BUXTON, one of my favorites of 2007, that has since garnered the Coretta Scott King Medal and a Newbery Honor. In the course of presenting ELIJAH to adolescents -- a tale set in 1860 amidst the community of escaped slaves at Buxton -- I always ask rhetorically whether the students can begin to imagine what it would be to suffer lifelong enslavement. Here is a story to help feed such imagination. CHAINS is a gripping, vivid, horrific, day-to-

Touching Historical Fiction

For ages 10+ this is an intense account of slavery in pre-Independence times of the USA. Too often we think that slavery only got bad in the 19th century or that it was limited to southern plantations. That is not the truth. Nor is it the truth that every slave owner was evil or every slave an innocent suffering. Laurie Halse Anderson does an excellent job of showing the complexities of slavery in the life of one young slave (her age is never given), her mentally handicapped 5 year old sister, and those they must interact with to survive the challenge of war. If you are not familiar with the true nature of slavery you will find this book disturbing. The question and answer section at the end of the book answers a lot of questions you may have about this period in American history.

Anderson Is A Masterful Storyteller

I scooped up Anderson's newest novel, Chains, when our school librarian received it as an ARC a couple of weeks ago. I don't think I've ever been disappointed in a book by Anderson, and this one is no exception. Set during the Revolutionary War, we meet Isabel, an 11 year old (I think) slave who has hopes that she and her younger sister Ruth will be set free as promised upon the death of their mistress. Instead, the mistress's scurrilous nephew not only refuses to free the sisters, he almost immediately sells them to a thoroughly disagreeable woman from New York City. Thus Isabel and her "simple" sister find themselves at the mercy of a mean Loyalist; orphaned and far from home, Isabel plots how to escape while dodging her mistress's hand and insults. Added to her circumstances is Isabel's worry over her little sister's "fits", and this worry is not unfounded; when the mistress discovers Ruth in a spasm, she becomes convinced that the child is possessed by the devil and sells her away from Isabel. Isabel is a strong character for one so young; she knows her own mind, and secretly educated, she is able to realize what is going on around her in the Loyalist household. Isabel must decide if she's going to use the information she learns to aid the Patriots or the British; uppermost in her mind at all times is what will happen to she and her sister if she is caught. While I was horrified at how Isabel was treated, I was also humbled by her courage and through Anderson's gift of words, able to see her soul of survival even when Isabel herself was having trouble doing so. Anderson has a way of pulling you into the mind of her characters, and whether historical or modern, you can sense the tension and emotions as the plot unfolds. Though I wondered at times whether Isabel would have thought or done some of the things she did, I felt that Anderson did a very credible job of building suspense and recreating the world of the American Revolution. As usual, Anderson has given us another page turner, and I can easily see many teachers of American history looking for this book as a supplement to their classes. Well written and well executed, Chains brings us the daily life of one small girl who makes a huge difference in a time when she shouldn't have been able to. Recommended!

An amazing historical novel!

CHAINS by Laurie Halse Anderson tells the story of Isabel, a slave trapped in New York City in the early days of the Revolution. Sold to Loyalists when her former owner dies, she's offered the chance to spy for the Patriots. But does their talk of liberty really include her? What about the British, who promise freedom to slaves who join their fight against the rebels? This book is impeccably researched in a way that not only convinced me I was getting "the real deal" as far as the historical details are concerned but also transported me straight back into the 18th century. Some historical novels that have tackled this issue in the past have made it overly simple, but CHAINS is different. The historical context isn't simplified, the Patriot cause isn't glorified, and the characters are flawed, complex, and rich. As a reader and as a teacher, I am in serious book-love. As soon as I read the advance reader copy, I made plans to use this novel in my 7th grade classroom. CHAINS is a well-researched look at choices made by individuals during the Revolution, a coming-of-age story for a girl and a nation, and an absolute page-turner. It's everything that historical fiction ought to be.

Chains Mentions in Our Blog

Chains in Cultivating Readers
Cultivating Readers
Published by Ashly Moore Sheldon • August 28, 2019

Here at Thriftbooks, we take pride in being a resource to teachers. By offering great deals and discounts on used books, we help educators stock up on their most essential tools—books! Here are some tips and suggestions on how to create a robust classroom library.

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