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Customer Reviews

4.3 out of 5 stars11
4.3 out of 5 stars
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on 31 July 2005
This book was originally published as "A Picture of Freedom," and was part of the Dear America series, fictional diaries of young girls during American history. This book tells the story of a young slave girl who longs for freedom just before the Civil War.
The year is 1859. Clotee has lived all twelve years of her life as a slave on the Belmont Plantation in Virginia. Although she has known no life other than that of a slave, she has secretly learned how to read and write, and that ability gives her a glimpse of the world out there. To practice, she keeps a secret diary that she hides in a hollowed-out tree. An orphan most of her life, Clotee has managed to make the best of her circumstances, and writing is one of the few things that brings her any joy. When a tutor comes to the plantation to teach the master's young son, Clotee figures that he'll just be another prejudiced southerner. But he's an abolitionist that further expands Clotee's horizons, and he may be able to give her the one thing she longs for: freedom.
This was a wonderful book that brought to life the world of a young slave girl in the pre Civil War south. Clotee came alive and seemed like a real person with real hopes and dreams. I highly recommend this book to young readers with an interest in American history.
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on 27 July 2006
I'd just like to add that one of the main reasons for the air of authenticity that this book carries, is that it's a true story, compiled from interviews given by the real-life Clotee when she was an old, free, woman. This is not a work of fiction, and the dignity , courage and humility of Clotee shines through with every page.

Inspiring stuff.
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VINE VOICEon 27 March 2006
Taking the form of a diary and spanning just over a year, this book follows the life of a young slave girl working in the "Big House" on a farm in Virginia in 1859.
Life is hard for Clotee: Although only 12yrs old, she works from dawn til dusk, at the constant call of her mistress.
She learns to read while fanning her mistress's son, also 12yrs, during his lessons. Slaves are not permitted any education and she has to keep her learning secret for fear of severe punishment.
However, the wind of change is blowing and 200yrs of slavery is nearing its end. Clotee gets involved with the abolitionists, helping others to reach freedom in Canada.
As an adult reader, I find some young adult books a bit patronising, this, however was well written and very interesting.
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on 1 July 2010
I've just began studying the civil rights movement for my a level history course, which has involved at looking at slavery in America before its abolishment in 1865. As I listenened to my teacher, I couldn't help but be reminded on this book as it provided a vivid example of this time period. I read the book a long time ago, yet I still remember it ever so clearly with the impact it had on me. It is a beautiful story of a girl who longs for freedom and would highly recommend it, as it will remain with you for a long time.
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on 2 May 2015
I read the book and then my ten-year-old daughter read it. We don't live in the US so she doesn't study US history and this really helped her to understand this aspect of America. A good account of the institution of slavery, and of the very human stories of its protagonists on several fronts. One leaves this book feeling that nearly - not all, but nearly - everyone was caught up in something beyond their control, especially the victims, obviously. It is fairly nuances for a kids' book. I'd recommend it to anyone who wants to teach their kids about "the peculiar institution" but also to anyone who wants to instill some empathy in their kids.
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on 18 September 2014
Its 1839 and Clotee a young slave girl dreams of freedom from her bondage, Clotee is different to most of the slaves she can read and write. The life of a slave is hard and she sees many terrible things happening to people she knows around her, one day a young white man arrives at the plantation to tutor the master's son, Clotee finds out he is part of the abolitionist movement. Clotee had heard about abolitionists and what they did to help run away slaves and wanted to be part of this movement, one of the better My Story books, a good read.
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on 15 March 2012
I purchased this for my mum as she is extremely interested in this era of history. We had recently read and seen "The Help" so decided to look for other books on a similar theme.
We ordered this book after seeing good reviews however, she was very disappointed to discover it was a childrens book. It would probably be useful for a child's project at school.
Nowhere on the product description does it mention this - I certainly think it should as it wasn't a cheap book by any means.
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on 4 July 2014
interesting book for all age groups for this time in history. l do know it has been used as an educational tool in school for projects
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on 10 February 2009
Bought this book for my 10 year old daughter. She was totally engrossed by it, found it extremely sad in parts but highly educational.
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on 28 September 2010
One of the best books i've read in a while i could read it again and again
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