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The Storybarn Selects… From The Reader Bookshelf

Written by Lily Kehoe, 14th September 2023

We're continuing to delve into the Children and Young People's Reader Bookshelf with a review of Catherine Johnson's Freedom by Reader Leader Emma Taylor.

From the moment this book begins you are drawn into Nat's world - from a brutal plantation in Jamaica in 1783 to the dismal streets of London, it's an adrenalin-fuelled rollercoaster ride giving you various perspectives on the slave trade in a clear modern style.
The book is only 138 pages with a comprehensive yet equally accessible historical note at the back, detailing the key figures in the abolition movement. This meant that despite only having a term with Year 7 pupils at Woodchurch High School per cohort, I was able to share the whole novel in around 12 weeks. The group took to it really well and had mature discussions about what it must have been like and how it still affects racism today. Without wanting to give too much away, the group gave a great reaction to the closing pages of the novel. A real milestone in any successful Shared Reading group.
Freedom is available to buy at The Reader Bookshop online.

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