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Let My People Go : Bible Stories Told by a Freeman of Color Hardcover – October 1, 1998


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Product Details

  • Age Range: 12 and up
  • Grade Level: 7 and up
  • Lexile Measure: 930L (What's this?)
  • Hardcover: 144 pages
  • Publisher: Atheneum Books for Young Readers (October 1, 1998)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0689808569
  • ISBN-13: 978-0689808562
  • Product Dimensions: 0.7 x 8.7 x 11.1 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1.8 pounds (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 5.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (5 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #1,045,560 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Editorial Reviews

From Publishers Weekly

In this stunning achievement, the renowned husband-and-wife team sets 12 Old Testament stories in the context of early 19th-century South Carolina, illustrated with Ransome's glorious paintings. As the McKissacks state in their introduction, "The stories are timeless treasures, universally read and honored, but no group embraced the Hebrew heroes of old more than African Americans during slavery times." The dozen tales unfold as Price Jeffries, who won his freedom in a seaman's lottery, tells them to his daughter in answer to her questions about what she sees happening in the world around her. The collection opens as father and daughter encounter a constable for wealthy slaveholder Mr. Riley and Charlotte asks her father, "Do Mr. Sam Riley own the moon?" He responds with the story of creation and tells her, "Nobody can make a slave of the moon, the sun, the stars, or any part of what God created, no matter how rich they may be. God made something wonderful out of nothing. What human being can do that?" Through the characters of Charlotte and Price Jeffries, based on historical abolitionists, the McKissacks answer the toughest questions of this troubling period of American history with stories of faith. When Charlotte witnesses an African child's death on the auction block, she asks her father, "Why is it God lets one person buy and own another person?" He answers with the story of Eden and "how God let the first people make their own choices." The story of the courtship of Charlotte's parents ("a love worth waiting for") leads the way to that of Jacob and Rachel. Each Old Testament story builds upon the one before it, weaving the development of Charlotte's personal history and the Biblical stories into a seamless whole. The volume's design further integrates the interlacing elements: Charlotte's story is set in warm bluish type, the Biblical retellings in classic black. Ransome's remarkable portraits capture the full range of Charlotte's and Price's emotions, as well as the serene dignity of leaders such as Solomon and Moses and of Daniel in the lion's den. His version of dramatic Old Testament events, particularly his vision of the creation, are captivating. Readers will likely return to this extraordinary volume again and again, knowing that the answers to life's painful questions reside in the stories of faith that have comforted others for thousands of years. All ages.
Copyright 1998 Reed Business Information, Inc.

From School Library Journal

Grade 3 Up-A masterful combination of Bible stories and African-American history. Price Jefferies, a former slave but now a freeman of color, interprets the ways of God. He compares the experiences of slaves and their masters in early 19th-century Charleston, SC, to those of well-known figures of the Old Testament. Jefferies, a blacksmith, has a close and loving relationship with his daughter, Charlotte, and tells her, in his own simple but eloquent manner, the various Bible stories that help to connect the trials of the Hebrew people with their own. Every tale has an uplifting, hopeful, yet realistic moral: good and bad choices (Adam and Eve and Cain and Abel), forgiveness (Joseph), patient love (Jacob and Rachel), courage (Esther), and so on. Each one is beautifully intertwined with a problem or situation that the girl observes and about which she questions her father. The poignant juxtaposition of the Biblical characters and Charlotte's personal narrative is authentic and moving. Written in a straightforward style, the text alternates between blue typography (Charlotte's words) and black (her father's), in a handsome format. Unfortunately, in the story of Ruth and Naomi, the tribes of Israel are mistakenly described as being the ancestors rather than the descendants of the 12 sons of Jacob. The occasional illustrations are powerful oil paintings in rich colors, emotional and evocative. Included are introductory words from the authors, illustrator, and fictitious narrator; notes; and both historical and Biblical bibliographies. This fresh view of how the eternal truths of life span the centuries gives this work a special place among Bible story collections, books of virtue, and the history of American slavery, appropriate for any collection.
Patricia Pearl Dole, formerly at First Presbyterian School, Martinsville, VA
Copyright 1998 Reed Business Information, Inc.

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5 of 5 people found the following review helpful By A Customer on August 28, 1999
Format: Hardcover
I can't really put into words how much this book has meant to me as an African American Christian parent. Simultaneously, I'm educating my six year old son about great Bible stories and the plight of our ancestors. Further, we tend to get lost in both worlds while reading this astonishing book. All I can say to the authors is: Please give us more! This book is a work of art, history and faith.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful By A Customer on March 11, 1999
Format: Hardcover
My son and I thoroughly enjoyed this book. The writing allowed me, the reader, to appear well-accomplished in the art of storytelling. The beautiful illustrations looked like something you'd expect to see in the Cistine Chapel. They piqued my son's interest and seemed to tell a story, even wthout the words.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful By A Customer on October 25, 2002
Format: Hardcover
I was trying to encourage my ten year old nephew to read so I got this book for him. He doesn't like to read, especially anything long. He read this book in one week, and he kept talking about how much he liked the illustrations! A beautiful book.
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Format: Hardcover
Let My People Go is basically 12 old testament stories. The setting of the story is in South Carolina. In the early 19th century, the stories shine light on the Hebrew heroes. Way more than those of the slavery era. The Bible stories begin to unfold when Price Jefferies had won his right to be free in the seaman's lottery. Price Jefferies tells these Bible stories to answer his daughters questions. About what is going on around her because she doesn't understand in a sense. With Price Jefferies and the extremely rich slaveholder Mr. Riley. The book is so in detail and just very descriptive and informing about what was going on in the 19th century.
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By Lorna on August 6, 2011
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
I was looking for a book, for a 9 year old boy i work with, in the hope of him absorbing
and understanding Goodness, have an appreciation of something other than, what he believes
life is about. This was eveything i wanted and more
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