Chasing the Nightbird

 
4.0
 
0.0 (0)
2773 0
Chasing the Nightbird
Publisher
Age Range
10+
Release Date
September 01, 2011
ISBN
1561455970
Buy This Book
      
Fourteen-year-old Lucky Valera is a seasoned sailor about to join the crew of the whaling ship, Nightbird. But when his estranged older brother suddenly kidnaps him and forces him into servitude as a mule spinner at the mill, his life takes a dramatic turn for the worse. Determined to escape, Lucky links up with some unlikely allies: Daniel, a fugitive slave who works alongside him at the mill, and Emmeline, a Quaker ship captain s daughter. Emmeline offers Lucky passage on her father s ship in exchange for his help leading escaped slaves through the Underground Railroad, but Lucky knows getting out from under his brother won t be easy. When their plans go awry and Daniel is threatened by ruthless slave catchers, Lucky discovers that true freedom requires self-sacrifice, and he comes eventually to realize he is part of a larger movement from which he cannot run away.

Editor reviews

1 reviews

Underground Railroad Adventure!
(Updated: October 21, 2011)
Overall rating 
 
4.0
Plot/Characters/Writing Style 
 
4.0
Illustrations/Photos (if applicable) 
 
N/A
Newcomer Krista Russell desires to expose children and young adults to the historical realities of the slave trade and the abolitionist movement. She skillfully weaves historical truths into her story, such as The Fugitive Slave Act of 1850, difficulties in distinguishing race, the Quaker’s early involvement in abolitionist causes, and labor laws and conditions of the 19th century. As Lucky vies for his freedom, grasping at anything that seems promising, he encounters the many hindrances that existed not only to blacks, but to many during that period, and which were beginning to be successfully resisted and broken down. Russell brings us into the desperate frame of mind many individuals may have had being born in such a time.

It has been a long time since I’ve read a fiction work exploring the themes of the Civil War era in the United States. I do not recall reading any, in fact, that revisited this time period through the eyes of a freeborn colored person. It is a unique perspective indeed, and Russell builds upon the historical foundation typically laid in middle and high school (and beyond) by introducing other true but often unknown or unstudied facts such as the experiences a colored, non-slave might have had with racism depending on his location, vocation, and origin.

Chasing the Nightbird, although slow-going at first, eventually delivers a good mix of action and thought-provoking story development. Although Lucky’s character is not as developed or deep as his friends Daniel and Emmeline, he is a great catalyst in this story and his spunky, no-fear attitude is a fun contrast to Daniel’s pensiveness and Emmeline’s caution. I especially like how Emmeline’s strong spirit and morals and Daniel’s experiences eventually draw out and expand Lucky’s values and ignite a desire in him to look out for someone besides himself. Emmeline proved to be my favorite character, with what I found to be a fully developed and strong personality. This glimpse of the past provides not only a lesson in history but a true-to-life adventure that awakens the humanity in Lucky and hopefully, in us all.
Report this review Comments (0) | Was this review helpful to you? 1 0

User reviews

There are no user reviews for this listing.
Already have an account? or Create an account
Powered by JReviews

FEATURED GIVEAWAYS

Latest Book Listings Added

Ashes (The Wings Trilogy: Adam, #3)
 
0.0
 
0.0 (0)
"The truth was, I wasn’t on anyone’s side except Claire’s....
Fire (The Wings Trilogy: Adam, #2)
 
0.0
 
0.0 (0)
After being killed by demons, former angel Adam wakes up...
Spark (The Wings Trilogy: Adam, #1)
 
0.0
 
0.0 (0)
"It came out of nowhere. A sweep of emotions. Love,...
The Twin
 
3.7
 
0.0 (0)
After their parents divorced, 10-year-old twins Ivy and Iris were...
Devil Darling Spy
 
4.7
 
0.0 (0)
It's 1940, and Sarah Goldstein is hiding in plain sight...
The Life Below
 
4.0
 
4.0 (1)
It was hard enough for Naomi to leave Leo, a...
Mr Penguin and the Fortress of Secrets (Mr Penguin #2)
 
4.5
 
0.0 (0)
Meet Mr. Penguin―Adventurer (And Penguin!) When Mr. Penguin...
Famous by Default
 
4.0
 
0.0 (0)
Jax Buried, By my family's fame. Dying to escape...
Sword and Pen (Great Library Book, #5)
 
5.0
 
0.0 (0)
With the future of the Great Library in doubt,...
Butterfly Yellow
 
3.3
 
0.0 (0)
Perfect for fans of Elizabeth Acevedo, Ibi Zoboi, and...
Jonny Lambert's Construction Site
 
5.0
 
0.0 (0)
A beautifully illustrated book for babies featuring lots of noisy...
Pop-Up Peekaboo! Baby Animals
 
5.0
 
0.0 (0)
Take your toddler on a rain forest adventure and find...

Latest Member Reviews

The Life Below
 
4.0
"After our mindbending landing on the moon back in 1969, we’ve faltered in our quest to explore space. Mars seems..."
The Twin
 
3.7
"Ivy and her twin sister Iris parents divorced when they were ten. Ivy got to live with their father and..."
Devil Darling Spy
 
4.7
"Sarah Goldstein, alias Ursulla Haller, is living right under Nazi rule in 1940 Germany. She's the Shirley Temple of the..."
The Life Below
 
4.0
"Naomi can't help but wonder if there was an ulterior motive behind the decision to kick Leo out of the..."
The Stars We Steal
 
3.7
"Jane Austen in space….yes please! The Stars We Steal by Alexa Donne is a futuristic retelling of Jane Austen’s Persuasion...."
Hearts, Strings, and Other Breakable Things
 
4.0
" The story: After living in foster care since the death of her mother, Edie finally..."
Seven Deadly Shadows
 
4.0
"Sixteen-year-old Kira Fujikawa loves helping at her family shrine. She also has a paranormal ability. She sees the not only..."
The Shadows Between Us
 
5.0
"THE SHADOWS BETWEEN US is the highly devourable YA fantasy I have been searching for! This is an enthralling story..."
 
3.3
"The Betrothed is a brand new YA-novel set in the 15th century by Kiera Cass, whom we all know from..."
Remember Me
 
4.0
"‘First rule of storytelling,’ he says, a glint in his eyes.’ Everything is possible.’ Nell is..."
Lobizona
 
5.0
"Sixteen-year-old Manuela, 'Manu' is in hiding from her father's Argentinian crime family. She also runs the risk of being deported..."
A Very Large Expanse of Sea
 
4.7
"Reviewed for YA Books Central A book that should be on every teen's shelf. ..."
Serious Moonlight
 
5.0
"Birdie and Daniel has the most awkward first encounter. So when Birdie started her job in a historic hotel, she..."
Long Way Down
 
5.0
"I feel like I've been asleep for the last 31 years and I just woke up. I am woke. ..."
The Opposite of Always
 
5.0
"Opposite of Always is a heartfelt and stunning debut; that is worthy of all praise. I am in love..."
Tyler Johnson Was Here
 
5.0
"Tyler Johnson Was Here--did not come to be politically correct, or racially ambiguous. Tyler Johnson came to tell an ugly..."
We Are Not Free
 
5.0
"Fourteen friends who grew up together in Japantown, San Francisco find themselves and their families sent off to incarceration camps..."
The Way You Make Me Feel
 
3.7
"Clara Shin is the class clown and definitely qualifies as a troll too. (Big difference between the two, I'm not..."
Pet
Pet
 
4.7
"Recently recognized as a National Book Award finalist and a Stonewall Honor book, Pet is also Akwaeke Emezi’s YA debut..."
Brown Girl Ghosted
 
4.0
"Sixteen-year-old Violet Choudhury has a huge secret. During the day she's part of her Midwestern town's cheer squad and at..."