Growing up a slave in South Carolina, Robert Smalls always dreamed of the moment freedom would be within his grasp. Now that moment was here.
Robert stood proudly at the Planter’s wheel. Only seven miles of water lay between the ship and the chance of freedom in Union territory. With precision and amazing courage, he navigated past the Confederate forts in the harbor and steered the ship toward the safety of the Union fleet. Just one miscalculation would be deadly, but for Robert, his family, and his crewmates, the risk was worth taking.
Seven Miles to Freedom is the compelling account of the daring escape of Robert Smalls, a slave steamboat wheelman who became one of the Civil War’s greatest heroes. His steadfast courage in the face of adversity is an inspiring model for all who attempt to overcome seemingly insurmountable challenges.
Read an excerpt!
In late 1861 freedom suddenly grew closer for Robert and Hannah. The Union navy captured Fort Royal, just down the coast from Charleston. A Union fleet set up a blockade at the entrance to Charleston Harbor. Looking thorough the captain’s field glasses, Robert could see the northern ships. The Union lines and freedom were within reach—only seven miles away.
Read the Reviews!
“The daring Civil War escape of a slave, his crew and their families in a stolen Confederate supply boat receives appropriately inspirational treatment in this new picture book. . . .Smith, a newcomer to picture books, sketches out scenes and characters with broad daubs of oil, creating a sculptural effect that heightens the monumental nature of Smalls’s deed. Page turns and textual pacing combine to relate the actual escape with pulse-pounding excitement; readers’ relief at Smalls’s success is almost physical. A triumph.”
–Kirkus Reviews, starred review
“This book is an excellent vehicle to bring [Smalls’s] story to a wider audience. . . .The oil paintings employ thick, bold strokes and deep saturated colors to convey Smalls’s strength and determination in successfully delivering his and his crew’s family members to freedom.”
–School Library Journal
“The story is simply told with the appropriate perspective of the era and the risks taken by the participants. Dramatically illustrated, this book should find a sympathetic audience among young readers and help reestablish in public memory the existence of a remarkable person.”
—The Bloomsbury Review, Editor’s Favorite
Starred Review: Kirkus Reviews
Honor Book: Society of School Librarians International
Best Children’s Books of the Year: Bank Street College of Education
Editor’s Favorites: The Bloomsbury Review
Honor Book: Paterson Prize for Books for Young People
Land of Enchantment Book Award Masterlist: New Mexico Library Association
Beehive Book Awards Nominee: Children’s Literature Association of Utah
Reading Circle Program: Missouri State Teachers Association
Purchase Seven Miles to Freedom by Janet Halfmann at:
Lee & Low Books – http://www.leeandlow.com/books/173/hc/seven_miles_to_freedom
Teaching guide for Seven Miles to Freedom by the National Museum of American History:
Before becoming a children’s author, Janet was a daily newspaper reporter, children’s magazine editor, and a creator of coloring and activity books for Golden Books. She is the mother of four and the grandmother of four. When Janet isn’t writing, she enjoys gardening, exploring nature, visiting living history museums, and spending time with her family. She grew up on a farm in Michigan and now lives in South Milwaukee, WI.
Visit Janet online at: