for This Strange New Feeling by Julius Lester
First published in 1982, Lester’s three historical short stories about freedom are just as fresh today as they were when they were first published. In his introduction to the new edition, the author asks, “What does freedom feel like when it is something about which you’ve only been able to dream? How much are you willing to risk to be free? Are you willing to die?” The three ensuing short stories seek to answer those questions from the points of view of African Americans who sought freedom from slavery in the mid-nineteenth century. Each character is based on a documented person: William and Ellen Craft, who escaped slavery when light-skinned Ellen passed as white with her dark-skinned husband posing as her servant; Ras, a young man who pretends to be stupid in order to gain the information he needs so that he and the woman he loves can escape; and William Yates, a free man of color who tried, unsuccessfully, to buy his wife’s freedom upon his death. As short stories go, each of these is quite long, reading more like novellas, but the complexity of the subject matter and need for historical context call for slightly longer narratives. Author’s notes at the end of the book cite sources for each story’s inspiration. (Age 14 and older)
CCBC Choices 2008. © Cooperative Children's Book Center, Univ. of Wisconsin - Madison, 2008. Used with permission.
Two short stories and one novella (all based on true stories) about love in the time of slavery. The first is about Ras, who helps other slaves escape, and ultimately escapes with his girlfriend, Sally. The second is about Maria, whose husband (a free black man) buys her but neglects to officially set her free; when he dies, she finds herself a slave again because her husband had debts and so she becomes the payment. The third is about William and Ellen Craft, a famous slave couple who escaped by pretending that Ellen (with her very light skin) was a white woman being escorted north by her slave; they went on to speak against slavery form the home base of Boston.
Publisher description retrieved from Google Books.