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Samuel's Choice

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Samuel's Choice

by Richard Berleth


Quick Overview

Berleth describes in simple, undramatic language the story of Samuel, a black 14-year-old who belongs to a Dutch Tory in 1776 Brooklyn and whose life is one of heavy labor. He longs for freedom, and his flagging courage is renewed by his fiery friend Sana, a fellow slave. Samuel watches as Washington's ragged army marches forth to engage the British on Long Island. In the midst of a furious storm he makes the decision to take his owner's boat across the East River, dragging a rope to guide the army across to Manhattan, and the rebels escape. Thus, this dark low point in American history is transformed into a triumph, as Samuel earns his freedom. Watling's watercolors on almost every page give chilling life to a despairing rebel army. Samuel's initial uncertainty and his later resolution are beautifully portrayed.


Samuel is a fourteen-year-old enslaved African American in Brooklyn in 1776 when the fighting between the British and the colonists reaches his doorstep. "Liberty ain't for Africans," says fellow servants. "It got nothin' to do with us." But his friend Sana says, "Nobody here's gonna be free unless they take the risk." Soon the well-equipped Redcoats have trapped ragged American soldiers, who have no boats to escape, and a terrible storm blows up. Samuel, a strong boatman, must decide what he should do. 40 pages

Additional Information

ISBN 9780807572191
Author Richard Berleth
Age Group 8-11
Book Type paperback

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