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Friend on Freedom River Review by Tina Rice

Gloria Whelan
IllustratorGijsbert van Frankenhuyzen
Sleeping Bear Press
310 North Main Street, Suite 300
Chelsea, MI 48118

Friend on Freedom River is the story of Louis, Sarah, Lucy, and Tyler. It is set in December 1850. Louis lives on the Detroit River; and while his father is away, it is Louis's job to be the man of the house. His father left him with this advice: "If you don't know what to do, just do what you think I would have done." Sarah, Lucy, and Tyler are runaway slaves looking for a way across the river to Canada and freedom. They look to Louis for help.

I really like this book! It is a powerful story, beautifully written and illustrated. If you are studying the mid-1800s, you need to get Friend on Freedom River. We will be studying American history next year, and this is definitely a book we will read and study time after time. This story captures the spirit of the quest for freedom and the love a mother has for her children.

My 6-year-old son enjoyed Friend on Freedom River. My youngest daughter is reading on a fourth-grade level, and she had no difficulty reading the book. My 14- and 16-year-old daughters enjoyed the story and illustrations.

Product review by Tina Rice, Contributing Writer, The Old Schoolhouse® Magazine, LLC, July 2006