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The Kidnapped Prince: The Life of Olaudah Equiano Paperback – January 25, 2000

4.7 out of 5 stars 20 customer reviews

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Editorial Reviews

From School Library Journal

Grade 6 Up?Born the son of a chief in the kingdom of Benin, 11-year-old Olaudah Equiano lived an idyllic life until the day he and his sister were kidnapped by traders and sold into slavery. Nothing could have prepared him for this devastating experience. And yet, after a period of adjustment, he was able to live a purposeful and positive life. Serving various sea captains, he sailed to a number of places, including the West Indies, Virginia, Philadelphia, London, Charleston, and Savannah; learned how to read and write; and fought in the French and Indian War. After earning enough money to purchase his freedom at age 21, he settled in England and wrote his autobiography, becoming a spokesperson for the abolition of slavery and an advisor to free blacks. The inspired simplicity of Cameron's adaptation quickly allows Equiano's gifted voice to establish a compelling relationship between himself and young readers. Well sculpted with detail, the book describes practices of slavery among Africans, the press gang, and the dangers of being a free black. The author reflects upon African tribal life and the contrasts among the various white people he encounters. His story is more exciting than Elizabeth Yates's Amos Fortune, Free Man (Dutton, 1967) and is a must for multicultural or history collections.?Cindy Darling Codell, Clark Middle School, Winchester, KY
Copyright 1995 Reed Business Information, Inc. --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.

From Booklist

Gr. 5-8. Kidnapped at the age of 11 from his home in Benin, Africa, Olaudah Equiano spent 11 years as a slave in England, the U.S., and the West Indies, until he was able to buy his freedom. His autobiography, published in 1789, was a best-seller in his own time, and it still speaks to us today. Cameron has modernized and shortened it while remaining true to the spirit of the original. It's a gripping story of adventure, betrayal, cruelty, and courage. In searing scenes, Equiano describes the savagery of his capture, the appalling conditions on the slave ship, the auction, and the forced labor. One chapter is about the horror of the West Indian plantations. Yet he survives; he retains his humanity, and he earns his freedom. He learns to read, and he writes his account to bear witness to what it was like to be a slave. Henry Louis Gates, Jr., points out in a fine introduction that Equiano shows the link between literacy and freedom, that he created the tradition of the "slave narrative," which influenced such African American writers as Douglass, Hurston, King, and Angelou. Kids will read this young man's story on their own; it will also enrich curriculum units on history and on writing. Read aloud the scenes when he is captured with his sister and torn away from her: "I went almost crazy from losing her . . . I would never forget her. I never saw her again." Hazel Rochman --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.
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Product Details

  • Paperback: 160 pages
  • Publisher: Yearling (January 25, 2000)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0375803467
  • ISBN-13: 978-0375803468
  • Product Dimensions: 5.1 x 0.4 x 7.6 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 3.5 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.7 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (20 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #169,457 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

Format: Paperback
The following reviews are excerpted from book reports written by a 5th grade class in Oakland, CA.

Jamar:

This book is really good and interesting, but sometimes is difficult to understand. I admire Olaudah because he was extremely hardworking and brave. I would like to read this book again because it is very authentic.

Edwin:

Olaudah learned many things. He learned to speak English well and he learned to read and to write. He also learned to fire the gun on the ship and he learned navigation. Olaudah helped his master a lot. That's why he won his freedom at 21.

Da'Quan:

The main characters are Olaudah Equiano and the slave masters. The main idea is about an 11 year old boy who was kidnapped and taken into slavery in 1755 and who won won his freedom when he was 21 years old. I admire him because he he is spiritual and hardworking.

Rattana:

Olaudah is an example to others because he is smart and loyal. This is what led him to what everyone, of any race wants: FREEDOM.

Rudy:

I really liked this book because it actually felt like I could picture what was happening at times. The book seemed like an action/adventure kind of book.

DeSean:

I liked this book because it showed real events going on in the 1700's. I would highly recommend it to anyone interested in adventure books and books about slavery.

Mayloni:

Olaudah is brave because he stood up for himself in some places. He is strong and hardworking. He is honest because he has never tried to run away from his masters.

Tyler:

Even though he was a slave, Olaudah worked hard for his masters. He worked harder than the free white men who got paid for their work.
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Format: Paperback
The Kidnapped Prince is an autobiography that tells about Olaudah Equiano being kidnapped and taken on a slave ship. Equiano has a lot of characteristics that helped him gain his freedom. Even though he suffered many injustices, he was honest. He was respectful and loyal. He was a hard worker. I thought the book was outstanding. Equiano kept going and went through many horrors of slavery. I learned to never give up and always keep trying. I would recommend this book to all the little kids like me, so they'll learn their lesson, never give up. (Alex, 5th grader in Oakland, CA)

The Kidnapped Prince is an autobiography that tells about an African boy's life and how he was carried into slavery and then became free. Olaudah's bravery, hard work, and honesty helped him become free. I didn't like the book. It was boring. I would still recommend it to other people because they may like it. (Tejenae, 5th grader, Oakland, CA)

The Kidnapped Prince is an autobiography that tells the story of an African boy who was kidnapped into slavery and how he found his freedom. Equiano was respectful, loyal, honest, and brave. These qualities helped him find freedom. Equiano taught me that you should be grateful for what you have. Equiano lost both of his parents and his sister but he was grateful for what he had. I would reommend this book because it teaches you things you don't know. (Alaezia, 5th grader, Oakland, CA)

The Kidnapped Prince is an autobiography about a young boy who was kidnapped from Africa and taken into slavery. There were many characteristics that helped Olaudah Equiano become free. He was sad, brave, and smart. This book showed me how slavery happened. It made me sad, because Equiano was separated from his family. I think others would like this book, so they could learn more about slavery. (Raven, 5th grader, Oakland, CA)
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Format: Paperback
As a parent doing research about a slave ship called the Henrietta Marie, I discovered the book The Kidnapped Prince: The Life of Olaudah Equiano. I was very moved by this book as well as my eight-year-old daughter. Olaudah Equiano expressed his view of slavery and the very essence of life as a slave very eloquently in his book. His constant eternal struggles to stay true to his self and survive as a slave make me applaud him with all my heart. The message Olaudah Equiano reinforces in his book, which will never grow old. "Education is the key to a successful life". Which is a meaningful message for today's African American children. Nevertheless, to achieve freedom before the age of 25 truly define him as a Prince and a leader. Ann Cameron did a supreme job with the translation of old English to Modern English. I highly recommend this book for all ages.
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A Kid's Review on May 25, 2007
Format: Paperback
"The Kidnapped Prince" is about Olaudah Equiano, an African prince who was kidnapped into slavery in 1755. Equiano was caring, honest and brave, and that is why I admire him a lot. These qualities helped him become a free man.

What I learned from his story is to be more brave, more honest and more caring. These things could help me have a better life. I recommend this book to people because I want people to read it. It is a good story.

Leo, 5th grade.
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Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
My son was assigned this book as part of his 5th grade curriculum. Sadly, I had never even heard of Olaudah Equiano. We read it together. I found this book to be profoundly touching. It is the true life story of a young boy kidnapped from Africa and sold into slavery. For me to write that this is a heart wrenching story would be an understatement. This was a difficult story (not in difficultly reading the words but the content of the words) for my 10 year old son. I am glad we read it together because honestly I think we both learned a lot.
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