By Alice McGill
(Houghton Mifflin Books for Children, Hardcover, 9780395979389, 224pp.)
Publication Date: April 2000
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The year is 1851. Miles is a slave. By the shrewdness of his Mama Cee, he was assigned at an early age to work in the great house on the Tillery Plantation. Like the other servants-in-training, Miles is proud to wear soft wool knee britches and to use the speech of the great house. Each day he helps to provide the creature comforts of a well-run mansion. Until he is caught looking at the open pages of a book. As a punishment, twelve-year-old Miles is sent to the breaking ground. There he experiences what it really means to be a slave. With the help of a mysterious man named Elijah, Miles learns to read and forms a pact to escape. Watching and waiting, Miles takes risk after risk to gain freedom for himself and Mama Cee in a story that will inspire readers of all ages.
Alice McGill is an award-winning author and professional storyteller. Among her books is the ALA Notable Molly Bannaky, winner of the 2000 IRA Picture Book Award and the 2000 Jane Addams Award. Alice McGill has toured to collect and tell stories in thirty-nine states, Canada, the West Indies, and South Africa. She lives with her husband in Columbia, Maryland.
"The novel reads like a suspense thriller, with spies, counterspies, disguises, and trickery used as weapons on both sides as Miles battles the belief that it is his destiny to be a slave." The Bulletin of the Center for Children's Books