Letters from a Slave Boy, a Fabulous Book


Susan Cheng writes, Have you ever even tried imagining what it would be like to be a boy who is a slave…

Have you ever even tried imagining what it would be like to be a boy who is a slave, and doesn’t know who his father is, doesn’t know where his mother is? This is the case when Joseph Jacobs is but mere nine years old in the book Letters from a Slave Boy by Mary E. Lyons. This is a great book that is 178 pages long and published by Simon & Schuster Children’s Publishing Division. In this book, Joseph Jacobs is striving to get to a place where skin color doesn’t matter. It has a strange structure: it is written in letters that he writes as he goes away from them. In the beginning, when he just learns to write, he has spelling and grammar problems but as the book progresses, you will definitely see improvement in his spelling and grammar.So how is he trying for freedom? He starts his adventure inEdenton, North Carolina in 1839. Then, in 1843, he moves to Massachusetts to be with his sister, Lulu. While he’s there, he is forced to become an apprentice in a print shop. But in 1846, he goes to a whaling trip on the Ivy Ann. In that same year, his friend dies. Three years later, he comes home with his 1/188 of the profit. He was surprised since he didn’t know fractions well. He misunderstood, so instead of what he expected ( a lot of money) he only got $57.96 for three years of pure torture in standing in ankle-deep water, and seeing loads and loads and loads of blood. In 1852, he goes to the famous California Gold Rush and starts gambling. He hears that there is another gold rush in Australia and he just needs $200 to get there. Will he be there? Read this great book to find out.Overall, I would rate this book 4 and ¾ out of 5, because I liked the plot, and I also liked reading about hardships. Another reason is I liked reading diaries about girls that wrote in their diaries for a certain period of time, and thought writing letters would be interesting. However, I felt there was something wrong with it, but I don’t know why. I would recommend this for grades 3-7, because if you’re too young, you may not understand the spelling and grammar problems like things that may be hard like “punctuashun”. I learned more about what it is like being a slave, in a different way that I’ve never seen. Other books like this one I would recommend are Letters from a Slave Girl (The book before Letters from a Slave Boy in the series) and Freedom’s Wings: Corey’s Underground Railroad Diary. I hope you will enjoy this book as much as I do.


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