Breaking Free by Louann Gaeddert

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In 1800, shortly before his twelfth birthday, Richard is sent to live with his uncle on a farm in upper New York State, where he teaches a young slave to read and encourages her to dream of freedom.

About Louann Gaeddert

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Although LouAnn Gaeddert is not herself a Mennonite, she has married into a Mennonite family. During the Vietnam War she began to ask questions about the validity of pacifism: Is pacifism justifiable in the face of great evil? Can refusing to fight take more courage than fighting? Can one be a selective pacifist, choosing to support one war but not another? Mrs. Gaeddert, who now lives in upstate New York, was born in western Kansas. She left the state during her infancy, but returned often to visit her grandparents and cousins. The Mennonite archives on the campus of Bethel College in North Newton, Kansas, were a particularly valuable source for background material for this book. Friends and Enemies is Mrs. Gaeddert's twenty-second published book and her fifteenth for young people. Her previous historical novels include Breaking Free, about a boy forced to live with an uncle who owns slaves on a farm in New York in 1800, and Hope, about two children in Hancock Shaker Village in 1851.
Published April 1, 1994 by Atheneum. 144 pages
Genres: Children's Books.

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Richard has been raised by his aunt and her husband, a gentle Vermont storekeeper who values his musical and academic gifts.

Jun 24 2010 | Read Full Review of Breaking Free

Publishers Weekly

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Sent to live with his cruel uncle and bullying cousin in 1800, Richard helps his uncle's slaves flee to Canada, then engineers his own escape.

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Publishers Weekly

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After withstanding seemingly endless, often excruciating insensitivity from his uncle and cousin (Richard's pig, for example, meets an all-too-predictable end), Richard first helps his uncle's slaves escape to Canada, then flees to Schenectady (though the opportunity to go to school there in exch...

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