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Free at Last!: Stories and Songs of Emancipation Hardcover – December 1, 2003

5.0 out of 5 stars 2 customer reviews

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Editorial Reviews

From Booklist

*Starred Review* Gr. 4-8. Drawing on first-person accounts by leaders and ordinary people in song, poetry, memoir, letters, and court testimony, this history brings close the experience of black Americans in the U.S. from the time of emancipation to the 1954 Supreme Court decision that declared "separate but equal" illegal. The stories are riveting. Jane Kemper steals back her four children, who were forcibly "apprenticed" by her former slave master. Harriet Postle, seven months pregnant, confronts the night riders who crash into her home. And there's no sentimentality. A letter tells of a slave family reunion that is painful and disappointing. A poem shows that convict labor was slavery under a new name. As in the author's history of slavery, No More! (2002), Rappaport talks about her sources and how she has adapted them, and the readable, informal notes bring authenticity to the personal accounts. Like the narrative, Evans' dramatic oil paintings, many of them full page, show the cruelty, even of a lynching, without exploiting the horror, and his portraits of individuals, from the famous to the unknown, celebrate the courage of people who helped break the color line. The clear, spacious design will encourage browsing, and a detailed chronology, a lengthy bibliography, and source notes will help readers to find out more. Hazel Rochman
Copyright © American Library Association. All rights reserved

About the Author

Doreen Rappaport is the author of numerous books for young readers, including the acclaimed NO MORE! SONGS AND STORIES OF SLAVE RESISTANCE - the first in what will be a trilogy of books illustrated by Shane W. Evans. Of FREE AT LAST! STORIES AND SONGS OF EMANCIPATION, she says, "This period in history was termed ‘The New Era’ by black abolitionist Frederick Douglass, who hoped that the end of the Civil War marked the beginning of equality for black Americans. But this hope for equality quickly vanished with a series of ‘legal’ injustices, violence, and daily humiliations against black men, women, and children, marking this as one of the most shameful periods in American history. This book traces the courageous struggle of black Americans to re-create family life and economic independence in the face of overwhelming danger and uncertainty."

Shane W. Evans is the illustrator of several children’s books, including NO MORE! STORIES AND SONGS OF SLAVE RESISTANCE by Doreen Rappaport. Of FREE AT LAST!, he says, "As in NO MORE!, I was faced with the challenge of making beautiful images out of images that are not always beautiful. There are dark moments in American history - our story - that need to be told, need to be known, and very importantly, need to be seen. It has been a welcome challenge and honor to tell these stories in pictures."

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Product Details

  • Age Range: 9 - 12 years
  • Grade Level: 4 - 7
  • Lexile Measure: 910L (What's this?)
  • Hardcover: 64 pages
  • Publisher: Candlewick; 1 edition (December 1, 2003)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0763614408
  • ISBN-13: 978-0763614409
  • Product Dimensions: 9.8 x 0.5 x 11.6 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1.5 pounds
  • Average Customer Review: 5.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (2 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #2,046,664 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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Top Customer Reviews

Format: Hardcover
Beautifully written and depicted, this book outlines the history of African Americans in the United States from the Civil War to school desegregation in the 1950's. Twenty-four events are described and illustrated. The great thing about this book is it is written for children to read and understand in terms they will be familiar with. However, children will need a strong background in order to read this book independently or used as a discussion tool. The author conveniently incorporates songs, poetry, and stories of famous African Americans. This allows for greater understanding of the event being described and offers the chance to take different perspectives. It is important to note, Doreen Rappaport reports accurate information on the more serious occurrences that took place during emancipation. For example, the Klu Klux Klan and lynchings are mentioned and described in the book and are accompanied by illustrations. This book also describes the "white violence" towards the African Americans. It is critical the children are mature enough and have enough background knowledge to understand the seriousness of the information being discussed. I believe this book should be a staple in every classroom! The illustrations, stories, songs, and events give accurate historical information and are written simply so children understand and enjoy. Please do not hestiate to make this book part of your classroom library!
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Format: Hardcover
An award-winning team, author Doreen Rappaport and illustrator Shane W. Evans present Free At Last!: Stories And Songs Of Emancipation, a captivating picture book surveying the history of African-Americans since the Civil War. This is a serious account suitable for young readers in covering such elements of the African-American experience as fear, violence, institutionalized injustice, lynchings, as well as the courageous acts of others, including those who spoke out against segregation and dared to make a difference. Strong, bold color illustrations add an unforgettable contribution to Free At Last!, an educational picture book about difficult struggles and which carries the absolute highest recommendation for both school and community library collections.
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