Seven Miles To Freedom: The Robert Smalls Story


Robert Smalls was born and raised in the slave quarters on the McKee plantation in Beaufort, South Carolina. He served as a house servant and then, at age 12, Mr. McKee sent him to work in Charleston. He worked at a local hotel, but he fell in love with the waterfront. He convinced Mr. McKee to let him change "careers" and he started working on the docks. Before long, he was an apprentice wheelman, the title for colored boat pilots in the South. Ultimately, his skill as boat handler and knowledge of harbor practices offered the means of escape. Mr. Smalls, his family, the crew, and their families waited patiently for their opportunity. In May 1862 that moment came and he did not hesitate. He captained the Planter and headed north.

Reader Enjoyment Factors:

This is nonfiction for kids at its best. There are myriad historical details, but they are woven into a story that celebrates the achievements of a fascinating man of great accomplishment.

Content Awareness Factors:


Parent Reaction

This is a fascinating biography. The author does an exceptional job offering setting the context of the pre-Civil War South. Slavery is ever-present, but it is secondary to the story of Mr. Small's life and accomplishments. This is a man whose accomplishments are not known widely enough. This book should be in every elementary school!

Type of Book:
This picture book tells the story of a slave who escaped during the Civil War.
Educational Themes:

This nonfiction picture book can be shared at home or school, with young children or elementary students. It is a good basic story for introducing the Civil War and it is equally valuable as a supplemental story to connect kids with specific individuals.

Reading Level:
Recommended Age To Read By Yourself:
10 to 13
Recommended Age To Read Together:
6 to 10
Purchase Recommendation:
Buy. This is a story that every child should know about.

Title Seven Miles To Freedom: The Robert Smalls Story
Author Janet Halfmann
Publisher Lee & Low Books © 2008
Illustrators Duane Smith
ISBN 9781600602320
Material Hard Cover
Cost $17.95
Genres Biography, History, War
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Other Reviews:

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