(Chains Series) Unabridged.Read by Madisun Leigh.Total running time: approx. 8 hours.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. 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. From acclaimed author Laurie Halse Anderson comes this compelling, impeccably researched novel that shows the lengths we can go to cast off our chains, both physical and spiritual. Winner of the Margaret A. Edwards Award 2009From School Library Journal: Grade 6–10—Set in New York City at the beginning of the American Revolution, Chains addresses the price of freedom both for a nation and for individuals. Isabel tells the story of her life as a slave. She was sold with her five-year-old sister to a cruel Loyalist family even though the girls were to be free upon the death of their former owner. She has hopes of finding a way to freedom and becomes a spy for the rebels, but soon realizes that it is difficult to trust anyone. She chooses to find someone to help her no matter which side he or she is on. With short chapters, each beginning with a historical quote, this fast-paced novel reveals the heartache and struggles of a country and slave fighting for freedom. The characters are well developed, and the situations are realistic. An author's note gives insight into issues surrounding the Revolutionary War and the fight for the nation's freedom even though 20 percent of its people were in chains. Well researched and affecting in its presentation, the story offers readers a fresh look at the conflict and struggle of a developing nation.From Booklist *Starred Review* In the spring of 1776, Isabel, a teenage slave, and her sister, Ruth, are sold to ruthless, wealthy loyalists in Manhattan. While running errands, Isabel is approached by rebels, who promise her freedom (and help finding Ruth, who has been sent away) if she agrees to spy. Using the invisibility her slave status brings, Isabel lurks and listens as Master Lockton and his fellow Tories plot to crush the rebel uprisings, but the incendiary proof that she carries to the rebel camp doesn’t bring the desired rewards. Like the central character in M. T. Anderson’s Octavian Nothing duet, Isabel finds that both patriots and loyalists support slavery. The specifics of Isabel’s daily drudgery may slow some readers, but the catalogue of chores communicates the brutal rhythms of unrelenting toil, helping readers to imagine vividly the realities of Isabel’s life. The story’s perspective creates effective contrasts. Overwhelmed with domestic concerns, Isabel and indeed all the women in the household learn about the war from their marginalized position: they listen at doors to rooms where they are excluded, and they collect gossip from the streets. Anderson explores elemental themes of power (She can do anything. I can do nothing, Isabel realizes about her sadistic owner), freedom, and the sources of human strength in this searing, fascinating story. The extensive back matter includes a documented section that addresses many questions about history that readers will want to discuss.Grades 7-10BiographyLaurie Halse (rhymes with "waltz") Anderson pretended she was a polar bear when she walked to school through the snow of Syracuse, New York. As a little girl, she would pound away at her father's old typewriter for hours, writing newspaper columns, stories, and letters. She loved watching her father write poetry and reading the funnies on the floor of his office. Laurie fell in love with words when her second-grade teacher taught her how to write haiku. Her favorite book is the dictionary, which is a good thing because she is a terrible speller. She tried to read every book in her school library, a heavenly place. She loves librarians! One of her favorite books was Heidi. This led to curiosity about foreign cultures. As a senior in high school, she was an American Field Service exchange student to Denmark, where she lived on a pig farm. She skipped both her prom and graduation ceremonies and had a great time there. She can still speak Danish.Laurie Halse Anderson never intended to be an author. At Georgetown University, she majored in foreign languages and linguistics. She hit the real world with no idea of what kind of work she wanted to do. She tried everything, including cleaning banks, milking cows and working as a stockbroker. She hated all of it. Working as a reporter for the Philadelphia Inquirer was a slight improvement, but she eventually quit to write books. After eight long, rejection-filled years, she has finally qualified as an overnight success.Laurie's books for children and teenagers have attracted a lot of attention. Her first novel, Speak, was a National Book Award Finalist, a Michael L. Printz Honor book, a New York Times bestseller, and an American Library Association Best Book for Young Adults. Publisher's Weekly, called Speak "a stunning first novel," in which Ms. Anderson "uses keen observations and vivid imagery to pull readers into the head of an isolated teenager." Speak has been translated into sixteen foreign languages, including Chinese and Catalan. In 2005, the movie version was released. In addition to novels, Laurie writes chapter books for elementary age children and picture books for the pre-school set. She received the Margaret A. Edwards Award, given by the American Library Association for significant and lasting achievement in young adult literature, in 2009Laurie lives in Northern New York with her husband, Scot, and their dog, Kezzie. Scot designed and built a writing cottage for Laurie, where she writes daily. Along with writing, she enjoys gardening, running and hanging with her family.
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