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Friday, January 10, 2014

Another Satisfying Installment in an Always Enjoyable Series

(Image from Amazon)

There's nothing Patsy Davis, a preteen slave girl, wants more than to go to school.  She longs to study with a real teacher, to get an education as rounded as those the master's children take for granted.  Most of all, she wishes she could stop hiding her ability to read and write.  If anyone on the plantation knew she'd been taught these illegal skills, it would mean severe punishment.  It's a risk she simply can't afford to take.  So, she pours all her yearnings into the diary one of her charges gave her as a joke—it's the only way she can keep her heart from bursting with all the hopes and desires she keeps hidden inside of it.

When the Civil War ends, granting slaves the right to schooling, Patsy can hardly contain her excitement.  But, as the months pass, it becomes obvious that the master has no intention of fulfilling his promise to bring a teacher to his South Carolina plantation.  Disappointed and angry, Patsy can think of only one viable solution.  It's a crazy idea, but maybe, just maybe, she can start a school all on her own.  Does she have the courage to defy her master?  Is she even capable of being a real teacher, with her shyness and stuttering?  And what will happen when everyone knows about her secret reading and writing?  Is she brave enough to face the consequences, whatever they may be?

Originally published in 1997, I Thought My Soul Would Rise and Fly: The Diary of Patsy, a Freed Girl by Joyce Hansen, was recently re-issued along with other books in the popular Dear America series.  These historical novels feature stories about young girls living in the U.S. during periods of great change.  Since they are all told through diary entries, the novels offer a reading experience that is both intimate and exciting.  All the heroines in the series are strong, courageous young women who must face trying circumstances.  As they strive to solve their problems, they discover they're tougher and more powerful than they ever believed.  Patsy is no exception.  Her story offers a unique glimpse into the post-Civil War experience of freed slaves and teaches an important lesson about not just recognizing your strengths, but also using them to help others.  It's another satisfying installment in an always enjoyable series.

(Readalikes:  Other books in the Dear America series; the historical American Girl novels are also similar)


If this were a movie, it would be rated: 

 for some intense situations
To the FTC, with love:  I received a finished copy of I Thought My Soul Would Rise and Fly: The Diary of Patsy, a Freed Girl from the generous folks at Scholastic.  Thank you!

1 comment:

  1. This series sounds so fantastic. I wish it was around when I was little.


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