Eleven year old Harriet Whitehead is an outsider in her own family. She feels accepted and important only when she is entrusted to write letters for her blind stepmother. Then Nat Turner, a slave preacher, arrives on her family's plantation and Harriet befriends him, entranced by his gentle manner and eloquent sermons about an all-forgiving God. When Nat asks Harriet for a map of the county to help him spread the word, she draws it for him - wanting to be part of something important. But the map turns out to be the missing piece that sets Nat's secret plan in motion and makes Harriet an unwitting accomplice to the bloodiest slave uprising in U.S. history.
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(210mm x 140mm x 20mm)
Harcourt Children's Books
Publisher: Harcourt Children's Books
Country of Publication:
US Kirkus Review »
An 11-year-old girl's inadvertent role in the infamous Nat Turner slave uprising of 1831 dramatically alters her life in this fictional account. Child of her late father's illicit affair, Harriet Whitehead lives on a Virginia plantation with her blind stepmother, preacher stepbrother and coquettish stepsister. Harriet's judgmental stepbrother faults everything she does and treats the slaves harshly. When he asks Harriet to become letter-writer for her stepmother, she initiates a correspondence with her uncle in England, telling him about her sympathy for the slaves, especially Nat Turner, a seemingly gentle furniture-maker and part-time preacher. Harriet supplies Turner with a map he wants of surrounding plantations and is horrified when he leads a grisly slave uprising, brutally murdering neighboring families and slaves, including her own. Afterward, Harriet is left alone to manage the plantation and deal with her guilt as well as shocking family news. The feisty Harriet narrates her harrowing story with a credible mix of naivete and candor, providing troubling glimpses of the enigmatic Turner and antebellum Virginia. (notes about Nat Turner, author's note, bibliography) (Historical fiction. 12-14) (Kirkus Reviews)
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Author Biography - Ann Rinaldi
ANN RINALDI is an award-winning author best known for her ability to bring history vividly to life. She lives in central New Jersey.