Chains

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Chains

by Laurie Halse Anderson

Atheneum Books For Young Readers | January 5, 2010 | Trade Paperback

Chains is rated 4 out of 5 by 2.
If an entire nation could seek its freedom, why not a girl?

As the Revolutionary War begins, thirteen-year-old Isabel wages her own fight...for freedom. Promised freedom upon the death of their owner, she and her sister, Ruth, in a cruel twist of fate become the property of a malicious New York City couple, the Locktons, who have no sympathy for the American Revolution and even less for Ruth and Isabel. When Isabel meets Curzon, a slave with ties to the Patriots, he encourages her to spy on her owners, who know details of British plans for invasion. She is reluctant at first, but when the unthinkable happens to Ruth, Isabel realizes her loyalty is available to the bidder who can provide her with freedom.

From acclaimed author Laurie Halse Anderson comes this compelling, impeccably researched novel that shows the lengths we can go to cast off our chains, both physical and spiritual.

Format: Trade Paperback

Dimensions: 336 pages, 7.62 × 5.12 × 1 in

Published: January 5, 2010

Publisher: Atheneum Books For Young Readers

Language: English

The following ISBNs are associated with this title:

ISBN - 10: 1416905863

ISBN - 13: 9781416905868

Appropriate for ages: 10

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Reviews

Rated 4 out of 5 by from Gripping! Chains was a great book, and I can't wait for the sequel! It made me laugh, cry and kept me reading for hours into the night. I recommend thhis book to anyone who enjoys historic fiction and american history.
Date published: 2010-04-30
Rated 4 out of 5 by from Perfection! At times I found Chains a bit slow. But it is still a wonderful book about a dark hour in American History. Isabel is an inspiring heroine who believes in Liberty with a strong heart. I reccommend this to Laurie Halse Anderson fans (I know I'm one!) and anyone ready to give Chains a chance.
Date published: 2009-11-23

– More About This Product –

Chains

by Laurie Halse Anderson

Format: Trade Paperback

Dimensions: 336 pages, 7.62 × 5.12 × 1 in

Published: January 5, 2010

Publisher: Atheneum Books For Young Readers

Language: English

The following ISBNs are associated with this title:

ISBN - 10: 1416905863

ISBN - 13: 9781416905868

About the Book

If an entire nation could seek its freedom, "why not a girl?"

As the Revolutionary War begins, thirteen-year-old Isabel wages her own fight...for freedom. Promised freedom upon the death of their owner, she and her sister, Ruth, in a cruel twist of fate become the property of a malicious New York City couple, the Locktons, who have no sympathy for the American Revolution and even less for Ruth and Isabel. When Isabel meets Curzon, a slave with ties to the Patriots, he encourages her to spy on her owners, who know details of British plans for invasion. She is reluctant at first, but when the unthinkable happens to Ruth, Isabel realizes her loyalty is available to the bidder who can provide her with freedom.

From acclaimed author Laurie Halse Anderson comes this compelling, impeccably researched novel that shows the lengths we can go to cast off our chains, both physical and spiritual.

Read from the Book

CHAPTER VIII Wednesday, May 29- Thursday, June 6, 1776 ...we have in common With all other men a naturel right to our freedoms without Being depriv''d of them by our fellllow men.... we were unjustly dragged by the cruel hand of power from our dearest friends and sum of us stolen...and Brought hither to be made slaves for Life in a Christstian land Thus are we deprived of every thing that hath a tendency to make life even tolerable... -- Petition for freedom from a group of slaves to Massachusetts Governor Thomas Gage, His Majesty''s Council, and the House of Representntatives, 25 May 1774 The days started early in the Lockton kitchen. Since Becky lived in a boardinghouse on Oliver Street, it fell to me to wake first and build up the fire. She did the proper cooking, and I did near everything else, like washing pots and plates and beating eggs till my arms fell off for Madam''s almond jumbles and plum cakes with icing. If not in the kitchen, I was removing colonies of spiders, polishing tables and chairs, or sweeping up a mountain of dust. I saved the cobwebs, twisting them around a rag and storing them by our pallet in the cellar. Cobwebs were handy when a person had a bloody cut. Madam complained every time she saw me: I left a streak of wax on the tabletop. I tracked in mud. I faced a china dog toward the door after I dusted it, which would cause the family''s luck to run out. At the end of every scolding, I cast down my eyes and said, "Yes, Madam." I kept careful track of
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From the Publisher

If an entire nation could seek its freedom, why not a girl?

As the Revolutionary War begins, thirteen-year-old Isabel wages her own fight...for freedom. Promised freedom upon the death of their owner, she and her sister, Ruth, in a cruel twist of fate become the property of a malicious New York City couple, the Locktons, who have no sympathy for the American Revolution and even less for Ruth and Isabel. When Isabel meets Curzon, a slave with ties to the Patriots, he encourages her to spy on her owners, who know details of British plans for invasion. She is reluctant at first, but when the unthinkable happens to Ruth, Isabel realizes her loyalty is available to the bidder who can provide her with freedom.

From acclaimed author Laurie Halse Anderson comes this compelling, impeccably researched novel that shows the lengths we can go to cast off our chains, both physical and spiritual.

About the Author

Laurie Halse Anderson was born in Potsdam, New York on October 23, 1961. She received a B.S.L.L. in Languages and Linguistics from Georgetown University in 1984. Before becoming a full-time author, she worked as a freelance reporter. Her first book, Ndito Runs, was published in 1996. She has written numerous books for children including Turkey Pox, No Time for Mother's Day, Fever 1793, Speak, Catalyst, Independent Dames: What You Never Knew about the Women and Girls of the American Revolution, and Chains. She also created the Wild at Heart series, which was originally published by American Girl but is now called the Vet Volunteers series and is published by Penguin Books for Young Readers.

Bookclub Guide

Discussion Topics

  • Describe the life of slaves in the American colonies in the 1700s. Discuss the difference between a servant and a slave. How did Miss Mary Finch''s view of slavery differ from that of most slave owners? Why does Mr. Robert accuse Isabel of lying when she tells him that she read Miss Mary''s will? Explain why Pastor Weeks thinks that teaching a slave to read only "leads to trouble."
  • Mr. Robert collects Isabel and Ruth on the day of Miss Mary''s funeral. Why aren''t the girls allowed to take personal items with them? Explain the symbolism of the seeds that Isabel hides in her pocket. She plants the seeds, and one day finds that the plants have died. What do the dead plants represent? There is another plant metaphor in the novel. Explain what the mayor of New York means when he compares the rebels to vines.
  • Role models may be found in real life and in stories. How are Isabel''s momma and Queen Esther, from the Bible, her role models for bravery? Discuss the connection between bravery, courage, and fear. What is Isabel''s first act of bravery? Discuss her most fearful moments. How is her bravery and courage fueled by her fears? How does she become bolder and braver as the novel develops?
  • The American Revolution was about freedom and liberty. Mr. Lockton, a Loyalist, thinks that freedom and liberty has many meanings. Define freedom from his point of view. How might the Patriots define freedom and liberty? Isabel has lived her entire life in bondage, but dreams of freedom. What does freedom look like in Isabel''s mind?
  • Discuss why Curzon thinks that Isabel will be a good spy. At what point does she accept his offer? Isabel feels betrayed by Curzon. How is Curzon betrayed by Colonel Regan? At what point does Isabel understand that Curzon''s dream of freedom is the same as hers? How does this realization help her forgive him? At the beginning of the novel, Isabel needs Curzon. How does he need her at the end of the novel?
  • Isabel encounters a woman in the street singing "Yankee Doodle," and realizes that the woman is a messenger. What is the message? Colonel Regan gives Isabel the code word ad astra to use when entering the rebel camp. The word means "to the stars" in Latin. Why is this an appropriate code word for the rebels? How does this word foreshadow Isabel and Curzon''s ultimate escape to freedom at the end of the novel?
  • The mayor of New York, a Loyalist, says, "The beast has grown too large. If it breaks free of its chains, we are all in danger. We need to cut off its head." Who is the beast? Who is the head? Why is Lockton so adamantly opposed to the mayor''s proposal?
  • Isabel says, "Madam looked down without seeing me; she looked at me face, my kerchief, my shirt neatly tucked into my skirt, looked at my shoes pinching my feet, looked at my hands that were stronger than hers. She did not look into my eyes, did not see the lion inside. She did not see the me of me, the Isabel." What is the lion inside of Isabel? What does Lady Seymour see in Isabel that Madam Lockton doesn''t see? How does the "lamb" in Lady Seymour help the "lion" inside of Isabel escape?
  • Explain the following metaphor: "Melancholy held me hostage, and the bees built a hive of sadness in my soul." What precipitates such sadness in Isabel? How does the hive grow bigger before Isabel learns to destroy it?
  • The old man that Isabel calls Grandfather says, "Everything that stands between you and freedom is the river Jordan." He assures her that she will find it if she looks hard enough. What is the figurative river Jordan in the novel? Discuss all of the tributaries that feed into Isabel''s river Jordan.
  • The bookseller gives Isabel a copy of Common Sense by Thomas Paine. He advises her that the words are dangerous, and that she should commit them to memory. At what point does she understand Paine''s words? How does the book give her courage?
  • What does Isabel mean when she says, "I was chained between two nations"? There are several references to chains throughout the novel. How is the word "chain" used as an antonym to the word "freedom"?
  • Appropriate for ages: 10

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