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The Price of Freedom: How One Town Stood Up to Slavery Hardcover


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Product Details

  • Age Range: 4 - 10 years
  • Grade Level: Kindergarten - 4
  • Hardcover: 48 pages
  • Publisher: Walker Childrens (January 8, 2013)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0802721664
  • ISBN-13: 978-0802721662
  • Product Dimensions: 11.1 x 8.8 x 0.4 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 13.6 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.7 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (3 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #680,651 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Editorial Reviews

From School Library Journal

Gr 3-6-In 1856, John Price escaped from slavery in Kentucky by crossing the frozen Ohio River. Two years later, slave hunters arrived in Oberlin, Ohio, and attempted to take him back at gunpoint. Shopkeepers, farmers, teachers, and college students formed an armed group of Rescuers to release Price. Some members of the group were former slaves, risking their own freedom. Charged with violating the Fugitive Slave Act of 1850, the Rescuers spent three months in jail. They returned home with a new purpose, vowing that "No fugitive slave shall ever be taken from Oberlin either with or without a warrant, if we have power to prevent it." The picture-book format is highly effective in conveying the power of the story. In Velasquez's dramatic mixed-media and oil paintings, determination shows in the stance of the figures and the set of their facial features. The book design is masterful. The front cover highlights John Price, surrounded by some of his champions. The back cover foreshadows a betrayal, with a hand dropping a gold coin into another hand, accompanied by the sentence, "How much is one man's life worth?" On the endpapers, a dark, quiet view of the river sets the stage for the conflict to come. Full-page images and spreads draw readers directly into the action. The final image is an 1859 large-scale photo of the Rescuers taken in the courtyard of the jail. This book could be used as a nonfiction partner to Christopher Paul Curtis's Elijah of Buxton (Scholastic, 2007) and as a resource in units about slavery, the Underground Railroad, or the Civil War.-Lucinda Snyder Whitehurst, St. Christopher's School, Richmond, VAα(c) Copyright 2011. Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.

From Booklist

The Oberlin-Wellington rescue—a little-known story from the annals of the American civil rights movement—finds cinematic exposition in this fast-paced, informative outing. Oberlin, Ohio, a sympathetic town resisting the Fugitive Slave Act of 1850, became the home of many escaped slaves, including John Price, who arrived on the Underground Railroad from Kentucky, headed towards Canada, and settled down. When Price is kidnapped by a Kentucky slave hunter, the town rises up en masse to rescue him. Twenty men were tried, convicted, and jailed, and the conflict contributed to the unrest that led to the Civil War. The Fradins begin the story with Price’s escape and passage, moving quickly to the central event that plays out across a single day, with time stamps marking the episodic scenes. Velasquez storyboards the drama with his detailed paintings, occasionally framed with wooden panels, posing his characters to highlight the action. Back matter includes a bibliography and sources for further research, and illustrations on the front and back endpapers offer meaningful context. Grades 2-4. --Barthelmess, Thom

Customer Reviews

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Most Helpful Customer Reviews

Format: Hardcover
We borrowed this book from the library and we read it aloud as a family. My children ranging in age from 7 to 13 were riveted. We had never heard of Oberlin's role in the Underground Railroad, but with the help of this book, we will never forget it. This book tells of the true story of the residents of Oberlin, Ohio and how they fought to save one man from being captured and returned to slavery. Excellent illustrations, complete with a historical photo of the rescuers who were tried and jailed. Truly an interesting read for ages elementary to adult. Highly recommended.
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Format: Hardcover
This was a well written book that talks about a tough subject. I loved how this book shows how one multicultural town will stand up for one of its' residents, not allowing him to simply be sent back to slavery without a fight. This book is both entertaining and educational and allowed my girls to learn so much more about what slavery was and what it meant to the United States and to the people who were slaves in our country's history. Not only is the story strong, but the illustrations are amazing and make the story come alive! I highly recommend this book to all!

*I received a copy for review - all opinions are my own*
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1 of 2 people found the following review helpful By saxophobe on May 21, 2013
Format: Hardcover
I checked this book out of the library for my seven year old daughter. The illustrations seemed a little menacing to her, so we read the book together. We enjoyed and were enlightened by it.

I was not previously aware of the episode recounted here, the 1858 Oberlin-Wellington [Ohio] Rescue of John Price, an escaped slave living in Oberlin who was kidnapped to be returned to slavery under the authority of the Fugitive Slave Act of 1850. Oberlin was a stronghold of Abolitionism and an important stop on the Underground Railroad, and by 1858 had a large population of escaped slaves. When Price was captured and taken to nearby Wellington to be returned by train to Kentucky, hundreds of Oberlinians went to Wellington to help rescue him. Many of the rescuers were subsequently arrested, jailed, and charged with violating the Fugitive Slave Act. Price vanished, perhaps fleeing to Canada, but his ultimate fate is apparently lost to history.

I was taken aback by what appears to be a significant factual misrepresentation, the implication that a large number of the rescuers were convicted. A few sources on the web state clearly that only two were convicted. That issue aside, this is a lively and inspirational portrayal of a community's brave and righteous stand for freedom at the risk of substantial government repression and hostility from many citizens of both northern and southern states.
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