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The Slave Who Learned to Read
Linda Walvoord Girard

YOUNG FREDERICK DOUGLASS: The Slave Who Learned to Read

As a young boy, the enslaved Frederick Douglass saw that pieces of paper gave white people power over blacks, especially over slaves. Freed men had to show their papers upon request. Slaves had to show written permission from their masters to be certain places. Sailors had to carry seamen's papers.

In Young Frederick Douglass, Linda Walvoord Girard tells the story of the early life of this great abolitionist and orator for forth to eighth graders. First through third graders may enjoy having the story read to them.

When his mistress agreed to teach him to read, Frederick eagerly applied himself. After his master demanded that his wife end the lessons, Frederick tricked, schemed, and maneuvered to continue learning to read and write. That reading and writing changed his life by enabling him to escape to freedom, then to become one of the nation's leading abolitionists by writing and speaking for abolition.

Girard shows his determination to learn to read, and then to write. She builds tension as he courageously, but secretly, teaches others to read. With the fear of being shipped down the river over his head, he desperately attempts freedom.

Colin Bootman's excellent paintings complement Girard's moving account which shows young students how crucial learning to read and write can be.

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