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My Name is Not Friday

Cover of My Name is Not Friday

My Name is Not Friday

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A gorgeously written account of a freeborn black boy sold into slavery during the Civil War; think 12 Years a Slave for young adults. Well-mannered Samuel and his mischievous younger brother Joshua are free black boys living in an orphanage during the end of the Civil War. Samuel takes the blame for Joshua's latest prank, and the consequence is worse than he could ever imagine. He's taken from the orphanage to the South, given a new name—Friday—and sold into slavery. What follows is a heartbreaking but hopeful account of Samuel's journey from freedom to captivity, and back again.

A gorgeously written account of a freeborn black boy sold into slavery during the Civil War; think 12 Years a Slave for young adults. Well-mannered Samuel and his mischievous younger brother Joshua are free black boys living in an orphanage during the end of the Civil War. Samuel takes the blame for Joshua's latest prank, and the consequence is worse than he could ever imagine. He's taken from the orphanage to the South, given a new name—Friday—and sold into slavery. What follows is a heartbreaking but hopeful account of Samuel's journey from freedom to captivity, and back again.

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  • Publisher's Weekly

    Starred review from November 9, 2015
    Middle-grade author Walter (Close to the Wind), writing his first book for teens, pulls readers into life on a Mississippi cotton plantation in the final years of the Civil War. Twelve-year-old Samuel is a free-born, orphaned, and literate black boy who is sold into slavery. He's renamed Friday by a slave trader and bought by a relatively progressive slave owner whose young stepson befriends him. Samuel quickly realizes that he cannot escape the plantation and becomes a dutiful, hardworking member of the slave community. Sustained by his religious faith, Samuel is thoughtful, intelligent, and compassionate, and he soon gains the respect of both the white owners and his fellow slaves. When he decides to teach the slaves to read and write, in spite of his conflicts about "lying and cheating to do God's work"—as well as breaking the law—the story's movement and suspense escalate. Walter masterfully constructs the world of the plantation and presents a large population of complex and distinctive characters, resulting in a rich, thought-provoking, and deeply satisfying book. Ages 12–up.

  • AudioFile Magazine Dion Graham's soft voicing of 13-year-old Samuel brings out all the heartache in his young life. Near the end of the Civil War, the free black orphan is sold into slavery by the priest in charge of the orphanage where he lives, condemning him to a life of hardship. This is a time when slaves are being pushed ever harder in order to maintain the lives of their owners. Graham's expert pacing, inflection, and lightly accented speech capture the pathos of this intolerable situation, allowing listeners to feel the cruelty of being forced to live as the property of those who can even take away one's own name. An excellent choice for middle grade units on slavery, the book and Graham's narration will aid young people in the exploration of this shameful chapter in American history. S.G. Winner of AudioFile Earphones Award © AudioFile 2016, Portland, Maine
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    All copies of this title, including those transferred to portable devices and other media, must be deleted/destroyed at the end of the lending period.

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My Name is Not Friday
My Name is Not Friday
Jon Walter
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