The Story of Civil War Hero Robert Smalls by Janet Halfmann

Part of “The Story of” biography series from Lee & Low books, The Story of Civil War Hero Robert Smalls by Janet Halfmann is a chapter book providing a glimpse into this brave, amazing man who was born into slavery and became a national hero.

Born in the slave quarters of a plantation in Beaufort, South Carolina, Robert Smalls began working for his master at the age of six. As his master’s favorite, Smalls led an easier life than other enslaved people, but he still witnessed the evils of slavery. As he grew into a young man, he knew he wanted more for his life and for his people than living as the property of another man. The Story of Civil War Hero Robert Smalls tells the story of the daring plan Smalls implemented to bring his family and others to freedom and how he helped the Union cause. It also follows his life after the war as a member of the United States Congress, a publisher, and a lifelong advocate for African Americans.

 

This is the second book by Janet Halfmann about the life of Robert Smalls that I’ve read. The picture book, Seven Miles to Freedom, is an excellent choice for younger readers. The Story of Civil War Hero Robert Smalls is geared toward school-age children. In addition to the biography of Smalls, additional historical content  provides an in-depth look into the times in which Small lived. According to the publisher’s website, “The Story of” books include: informative sidebars, highlighted vocabulary words, a timeline, a glossary, a bibliography, and a recommended reading list. This information makes The Story of Civil War Hero Robert Smalls the perfect book for school and public libraries and a great resource for all types of school projects. An inspiring story of a true American hero, The Story of Civil War Hero Robert Smalls is a welcome addition to any Civil War library.

The style of artwork from talented children’s book illustrator Duane Smith allows the reader to envision Smalls’ journeys from his dreams of freedom through his days of piloting the Planter wood-burning steamer. The book also includes historical photos.

I am proud to add The Story of Civil War Hero Robert Smalls to my Civil War library.

Highly recommended!

Rating: 🙂 🙂 🙂 🙂 🙂

Age Range: 8 – 11 years
Grade Level: 3 – 4
Series: Story of…?
Paperback: 80 pages
Publisher: Lee & Low Books (February 25, 2020)
Language: English
ISBN-10: 1643790161
ISBN-13: 978-1643790169

I received a copy of this book from the author. This review contains my honest opinions, which I have not been compensated for in any way.

Seven Miles to Freedom by Janet Halfmann

So engaging it could be fiction, Seven Miles to Freedom: The Robert Smalls Story by Janet Halfmann should be in American classrooms everywhere.

The story of Robert Smalls begins in 1939 with his birth into slavery in Charleston, South Carolina. A favored servant, Smalls has a decent life for a slave, but he witnesses firsthand the cruelty of this Peculiar Institution. As he grows from child into man, Smalls falls in love and longs for freedom for him and his family. Seven Miles to Freedom shares how he leads a plot to steal a Confederate steamboat and pilots it into Union held territory.

What a fascinating story! My Civil War collection is the most extensive in my home library. I have numerous non-fiction titles about a variety of topics on the War between the States. I will proudly add Seven Miles to Freedom by Janet Halfmann to my collection.

Having enjoyed Halfmann’s Good Night, Little Sea Otter and Fur and Feathers, I knew the writing would be superb; but it can be difficult to make history interesting for young readers. Halfmann makes it look easy. It’s a true historical action adventure on the Atlantic. I wasn’t sure how I would like the impressionistic artwork for this book, but in the end I decided that Duane Smith’s creations were the perfect complement to the story. His style allows the reader to imagine this being any African-American slave’s story. Granted it is Smalls’s story, but the fact remains there were many brave African-Americans who helped the Union win the Civil War.

It’s no wonder that Seven Miles to Freedom has won so many honors and awards.  If you want to teach your children history in an engaging manner, you’ll want to pick up a copy of this one.

Rating:  🙂 🙂 🙂 🙂 🙂

  • Publisher:Lee & Low Books
  • ISBN-10:9781600602320
  • ISBN-13: 978-1600602320
  • SRP:  $17.95

I received a copy of this book from the publisher in exchange for my honest opinions. I received no monetary compensation to provide this review.

America’s Black Founders by Nancy I. Sanders

 

For an educational and fun reading experience look no further than America’s Black Founders: Revolutionary Heroes and Early Leaders by Nancy I. Sanders.

In this engaging book geared for ages 9 – 12, Sanders brings America’s black Revolutionary hereos and early leaders to life with stories, historical photographs, and special features. While this book covers a variety of heroes and leaders–John Marrant, Lucy Terry Prince, Crispus Attucks, Salem Poor, Harry Hosier and many more–the story of Richard Allen, from his birth to his death flows through the entire book, weaving in and out of the times in which Allen lived.

Also included are 21 activities that youngsters will enjoy. From stuffing a straw mattress to making a stamp, from how to pen a patriotic poem to designing a flag, and from reading the Declaration of Independence to exploring your family tree, these activities will keep your children or students entertained while they learn.

The photography in this book is outstanding. It is also obvious that Sanders put a great deal of effort and research into America’s Black Founders.  Classes that are studying Colonial America and Revolutionary times will definitely want to have this in their library. It is also a great read for Black History Month.

I highly recommend America’s Black Founders by Nancy Sanders. You can find many more books by Sanders by checking out her website.

Rating:  🙂 🙂 🙂 🙂 🙂

  • Publisher: Chicago Review Press
  • ISBN-10: 1556528116
  • ISBN-13: 978-1556528118
  • SRP:  $16.95 


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