I can check off another title from this year’s Nutmeg nominee list after finishing Unbound by Ann E. Burg.
Grace is required to leave her family’s slave quarters in order to live in the Big House as a servant to Master Allen and his Missus. Grace befriends the other slaves in the house, while witnessing the terrible treatment they endure. The Missus seems to look for any reason to inflict bodily harm to her servants. Grace doesn’t want to draw attention to herself, but she can’t help her reactions to injustice.
Grace overhears the Missus telling Master Allen to bring Grace’s mom and brothers to the auction block. At this point, Grace realizes that escaping with her family is worth any risk rather than losing them forever. With bravery and determination, Grace and her family (mother, two brothers, “uncle’ and aunt) are guided into an escape route that brings them through forest and swamp. They meet others along the way, all with their own stories of poor treatment, loss and escape to share.
I would recommend that students read the Author’s Note and Acknowledgements before the book to understand its historic significance. Unbound is written in verse, making for a quick and powerful read.