Escape from Communist Heaven

In communist Vietnam, fifteen-year-old Viet has survived the labor camp and been promoted to the self-motivation camp:

“Sunday was our only break in the monotony of digging, eating and sleeping. There was nothing else to do, so I spent every Sunday in the library reading the communist books. As I read, I felt bad for the people who thought they were sacrificing their lives so our country could have equality. I thought how worthless they would feel if they knew how communism had divided the people even further, allowing some people to act like gods and making others slaves.”

Escape from Communist Heaven by Dennis W. Dunivan



The Apple and the Arrow

This is the tale of the Swiss desire for freedom from Austrian rule in 1291, and what happened when William Tell refused to bow to the duke’s hat.

The Apple and the Arrow by Mary and Conrad Buff


The War Within

Hannah has grown up in Mississippi, never questioning the ownership of slaves. When General Grant expels all Jews from his district and Hannah experiences being treated as inferior, she begins to wonder.

The War Within by Carol Matas


Neela: Victory Song

It has been weeks since Neela’s father went to Calcutta to march for freedom from British rule. Determined to find out what has happened to her father, Neela goes to Calcutta disguised as a young storyteller.

Neela: Victory Song by Chitra Banerjee Divakaruni


The Unfortunate Son

It is 1501. Salah, despite his learning and feelings of cultural superiority, sees no problem in holding slaves. Luc disagrees. Although treated well, Luc yearns for his freedom and a chance to return home to France.

The Unfortunate Son by Constance Leeds


When I Left My Village

The villagers hear of other Ethiopian Jews being beaten, sold as slaves and murdered. Father decides they will try to reach Israel, where they can be free. And so begins a long, dangerous journey to Sudan, because it is rumored that people are being taken to Israel from the refugee camps.

When I Left My Village by Maxine Rose Schur


Elijah of Buxton

“…you ain’t never gonna know how much time you got here on earth and each day you’re free is precious.”

Elijah of Buxton by Christopher Paul Curtis


The Red Umbrella

Lucía wants to believe the things the newspapers claim about the revolution in Cuba: change, share the wealth, all will be fair and equal. But what she experiences does not match the promises she reads. Chants of Socialism or Death, confiscations, punishing anyone who dares to think on their own or disagree, executions of innocent men, control. How could so many smart people who supported the revolution be so wrong?

Lucía’s parents send her (with little brother Frankie) to the United States for safekeeping as part of the Pedro Pan exodus, and hope the family will be reunited before too long.

The Red Umbrella by Christina Diaz Gonzalez


Woods Runner

Samuel barely knew a war had started when his home was destroyed and his parents taken prisoner. While searching for them, he asks Abner “Did he [King George] start the war?”
“Probably not. It began on this side of the ocean in Boston, not over there. People were sick of being treated like livestock.”

From the Afterward:

“The men fighting, and dying, in the War for Independence were, for the most part, average young workingmen with little or no military training. They were fighting the most powerful nation on earth. And they suffered those horrendous casualty rates for an appalling eight years. That these young men and boys stood to as they did, in the face of withering odds, and actually won and created a new country with their blood, is nothing short of astonishing.”

In just a few generations, their descendants squandered those sacrifices and chose dependence on government.

Woods Runner by Gary Paulsen


Flight to Freedom

1967. Communism has brought rationing, firing squads, forced agricultural labor, indoctrination, and religious persecution to Cuba. Yara’s family leaves for the United States and experiences the difficulties of becoming established in a new country.

Flight to Freedom by Ana Veciana-Suarez


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