Shackles by Marjorie Wentworth

Book Website

Based on a true story, Shackles describes what happens when a group of boys--Hunter and his younger brothers, Oliver and Taylor, and three friends--search for buried treasure in their backyard on Sullivan's Island, South Carolina. When they unexpectedly dig up shackles, instead of the treasure they were hoping for, they are sad and confused. Neighbor and friend Mr. Green is summoned, and tries to explain the painful hidden history of Sullivan's Island. With 16 original illustrations.





From Booklist

After a trip to the Pirate Museum, Hunter, 11, watches his pesky little brothers dig for buried treasure in their backyard on Sullivan’s Island, South Carolina. When they dig up an armful of mud and metal, their neighbor Mr. Green explains to them that what they have found are shackles used on slaves to prevent their escape. The author is the poet laureate of South Carolina, and, based on a true story, this compelling picture book speaks in clear, lyrical prose, true to Hunter’s perspective, with beautiful oil paintings that show the white boys at play and then with their African American neighbor confronting the cruel history in their own backyard. An unforgettable double-page spread shows Mr. Green’s hands close-up holding the chains. A note fills in the history about the island as a holding place for the ancestors of one out of three African Americans, before they were sold or buried. Readers will want a bibliography to find out more. Grades 2-5. - Hazel Rochman

About the Author

Marjory Heath Wentworth is Poet Laureate of South Carolina and the author of Noticing Eden and Despite Gravity. She writes a bimonthly column on poetry for The Post and Courier of Charleston, and teaches poetry in an arts and healing program at the city s Roper Hospital. She lives in Mount Pleasant with her husband Peter and their three sons.

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