I finished a young adult book last night, and it once again reinforces how amazing a good historical novel can be. Chains by Laurie Halse Anderson is a novel set in the 18th century during one of the most fascinating American conflicts, The Revolutionary War. Since I am currently bringing American History part one alive for my students on a daily basis, I am always on the lookout for a great piece of historical literature I can bring to them.
Isabel, the main character is a slave in colonial New England, the property of a brutal mistress who is relentless. Without giving away too much, the story chronicles her life as her sister is sold, her only friend it captured as a rebel prisoner, and she spends her downtime running errands for the enemy.
As I began reading this to my students, I was pleased to see the shock on their faces as they heard punishments such as branding, whipping, and being sold. It reminded me that there is some humility in the upcoming generation, something that is comforting to see.