I don’t want to pass over the other book just nominated for the National Book Award that touches on the period of America’s founding. It appears in the Young People’s Literature category: Chains, by Laurie Halse Anderson. The publisher has described its story thusly:
As the Revolutionary War begins, thirteen-year-old Isabel wages her own fight...for freedom. Promised freedom upon the death of their owner, she and her sister, Ruth, in a cruel twist of fate become the property of a malicious New York City couple, the Locktons, who have no sympathy for the American Revolution and even less for Ruth and Isabel.I’m guessing that any characters named “Lockton” aren’t really into that freedom thing.
When Isabel meets Curzon, a slave with ties to the Patriots, he encourages her to spy on her owners, who know details of British plans for invasion. She is reluctant at first, but when the unthinkable happens to Ruth, Isabel realizes her loyalty is available to the bidder who can provide her with freedom.
Anderson is also the author of Fever 1793, about the devastating yellow fever epidemic in the U.S. of A.’s capital, and the nonfiction Independent Dames. We were corresponding about the phrase “Year of the Hangman” back here.
And speaking of Revolutionary War Novels about Enslaved Young People by Authors Named Anderson Nominated for a National Book Award in the Category of Young People’s Literature, folks might recall M. T. Anderson’s The Astonishing Life of Octavian Nothing, Traitor to the Nation, Volume One: The Pox Party from a couple of years ago.
This fall has brought us The Astonishing Life of Octavian Nothing, Traitor to the Nation, Volume Two: The Kingdom on the Waves. Octavian experiences more of the siege of Boston, this time from the inside, and takes off for Virginia. Publishers Weekly interviewed Anderson alongside a photo of him with some redcoat reenactors on Boston Common this summer. Anyone you recognize?