Friday, March 13, 2009
As a reader, I love books that are straightforward, honest, and gritty. In fact, I seek them out. I love historical fiction most of all, especially when it allows us to see the ugly, truthful side of humanity. Chains by Laurie Halse Anderson does just that. Through Isabel's powerful story of struggle and survival, I not only found myself engrossed to the point of missing a couple of meals, but I also learned a great deal about New York City during the Revolutionary War. The realities of being somebody's property, the cruelties, the living conditions, the raging fire I never knew about, the human side of being a Patriot or Loyalist, the medical procedures... so many tiny details embedded in so much research. Wow!
As a fourth grade teacher, I might not add this to my public class shelf. I would keep it on my sought-after personal book shelf for the day when a child needs just the right book. A child who is mature enough, and interested enough to see slavery as it truly was, and war as it truly is.