Lea Wait

Seaward Born
Back to Novels for Young People

Simon & Schuster
Margaret K. McElderry Books (hardcover)
ISBN 068984719X   or
Aladdin Books (paperback)
ISBN 0689848609
Also available as e-book

Thirteen-year-old Michael knows he is lucky. Few slaves in 1805 Charleston are where they want to be; Michael works on the docks in Charleston Harbor, close to the seas he longs to sail. Life seems good. But when his protective mistress dies, Michael’s world changes. His friend Jim encourages him to “steal himself”; to run. Michael is torn. Mama always taught him, “to get along, you go along.” But Papa wanted him to be free. “You see a possibility, boy, you take it. A fish you pull in as a free man tastes ten times sweeter than a fish you catch for a master.” Now Mama and Papa are dead, and Michael must decide alone. How Michael makes his decision to flee seaward to freedom is the heart of this moving and dramatic story set in an America where slavery is a way of life in the South, and the journey to freedom one of immense danger.

-Bank Street College “one of best children’s books of 2003”
-2004 International Reading Association Teachers’ Choice Booklist
-Student Choice Award nominations in Florida, Maine, South Carolina, Pennsylvania
-Gold Crown Award nominee

Kirkus Reviews: “An excellent illumination of conditions and behavior not explored often enough in children’s literature.”

The Charleston Hurricane of 1804 (99 cent purchase on Amazon!)
NEW! Lea’s written a short story about Michael Lautrec, the protagonist in SEAWARD BORN, that describes how one of the worst hurricanes in the nineteenth century devastated the city of Charleston .. and changed Michael’s life. It’s a prequel to SEAWARD BORN. Check it out!

Lexile: 730L     Accelerated Reader Points:  5.0

Teachers and Librarians:  For details of the themes in Seaward Born, how they relate to Common Core Standards, and questions for classroom discussions, see Educators’ Page: Seaward Born.

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