Freedom 1783

By Catherine Johnson
Published by Scholastic


Price £4.99
Publisher Scholastic

Nat is a slave boy in Jamaica in 1783. His mother and sister have been sold, and their loss is unbearable, even more so when he is taken to London. He remembers his mother telling him that no one in England is a slave, which brings solace on the journey. He determines that once he is free he will return and rescue his family. However, in London he is still a slave, and his new life is full of cruelty and racism. Escape seems impossible, yet eventually he manages. He meets people campaigning to end slavery and hears about the slave ship Zong from which over a hundred slaves were thrown to their deaths for insurance purposes. He attends the trial of the ship’s owners and joins in the celebrations of the verdict. The mood in Britain about slavery is changing. And Nat is free. This moving, important and ultimately hopeful book is based on fact, as an afterword makes clear.