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 In addition to the biography of Smalls, additional historical content  provides an in-depth look into the times in which Small lived.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.

My TBR Pile

 

Two cousins embark on an exciting mystery to solve the riddle of their grandfather’s will. The boys from diverse backgrounds must work together to overcome natural and cultural obstacles. Can they save the ranch in time?

History, like magic, has a habit of repeating itself

It’s been six months since thirteen-year-old Alyssa McCarthy left magic behind for good. Or so she thought…

Then the enchanted objects that protected her disappear. Now a skeleton named Errol has cursed her with magical powers that keep getting her in trouble. Suddenly strange things are happening with disastrous effects, and if Alyssa can’t remove the magic, she will lose everything she holds dear.

In order to get rid of her unwanted wizardry, Alyssa will have to boost her bravery and confidence and determine who Errol really is. But every time Alyssa uses an enchantment, Errol is one step closer to getting his flesh back and becoming alive, and he will do anything to achieve his goals…even if it means destroying Alyssa’s happiness.

Originally published in 2016 as “Wizardry Goes Wild” and “The Unruly Curse” in 2019, “A Curse of Mayhem” is book two in the exciting and suspenseful “Magical Missions” series.

 

This exciting entry in Lee & Low’s “Story of” line of chapter-book biographies introduces readers to Robert Smalls, an enslaved steamboat wheelman who commandeered a Confederate boat during the Civil War and escaped with his family, crew, and their families to freedom.

Growing up enslaved 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.

The Story of Civil War Hero Robert Smalls is the compelling account of the daring escape of Robert Smalls, an enslaved 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.

This Chapter Book edition includes black-and-white illustrations as well as sidebars on related subjects, a timeline, a glossary, and recommended reading.

What is in your TBR pile right now?

 

Seven Miles to Freedom by Janet Halfmann

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

Awards:

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

Amazon – http://www.amazon.com/Seven-Miles-Freedom-Robert-Smalls/dp/1600602320/

Barnes and Noble – http://search.barnesandnoble.com/Seven-Miles-to-Freedom/Janet-Halfmann/e/9781600602320/

Teaching guide for Seven Miles to Freedom by the National Museum of American History:
http://americanhistory.si.edu/ourstory/activities/smalls/

Janet Halfmann is an award-winning children’s author who strives to make her books come alive for young readers and listeners. She has written more than thirty fiction and nonfiction books.

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:

Website: http://www.janethalfmann.com
Facebook: http://www.facebook.com/janethalfmann
Twitter: http://twitter.com/#!/janethalfmann



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