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The Escape of Robert Smalls: A Daring Voyage Out of Slavery
The Escape of Robert Smalls: A Daring Voyage Out of Slavery
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Reviewed Titles
Capstone Editions

The Escape of Robert Smalls: A Daring Voyage Out of Slavery

The mist in Charleston Inner Harbor was heavy, but not heavy enough to disguise the stolen Confederate steamship, the Planter, from Confederate soldiers. In the early hours of May 13, 1862, in the midst of the deadly U.S. Civil War, an enslaved man named Robert Smalls was about to carry out a perilous plan of escape. Standing at the helm of the ship, Smalls impersonated the captain as he and his crew passed heavily armed Confederate forts to enter Union territory, where escaped slaves were given shelter. The suspenseful escape of the determined crew is celebrated with beautiful artwork and insightful prose, detailing the true account of an unsung American hero.

PublisherCapstone Editions
BrandCapstone Editions
Age Level9-12 Years
Reading LevelGrades 3-4
Trim Size9 x 11
Page Count40



Jean Little Library - Jennifer Wharton

"This treats slavery and the very real threats faced by Robert Smalls and those who escaped with him honestly but without graphic detail. The story is told in an exciting, but not sensationalized manner. It definitely fills a gap in telling the stories of escaped slaves and I would highly recommend it." - Jean Little Library

October 28, 2019

School Library Journal - Elizabeth Nicolai, Anchorage Public Library, AK

"The heart of the story spotlights the bravery and resourcefulness of Smalls as he plots and carries out his plan. The afterword includes a photo of Smalls, more information about his life, slavery, and the Civil War. . . .The illustrations are well done, often using darker colors to represent the night time and gravity of the voyage. None of the harshest parts of slavery are examined too closely, which is unsurprising in a book for young children, but the consequences for attempting such a risky escape is made very clear. A good purchase for public and elementary school libraries wanting to expand a nonfiction collection on slavery and the Civil War. This book will work well for one-on-one sessions with younger readers and in groups of older children." - School Library Journal

September 1, 2019

Kirkus Reviews

"The true story of an unsung African American hero who deserves to be remembered. . . .The illustrations, primarily in browns, greens, and blues to evoke the nocturnal and maritime setting, will help readers envision the time and place of Smalls' escape. The informative backmatter, including a photograph of Smalls, offers an overview of his life and later career as a U.S. congressman and a landowner (of his former master's home). . . .Ideal for piquing readers' interest in a determined and inspiring historical figure." - Kirkus Reviews

June 1, 2019


The Children's Book Review - Dr. Laura Kieselbach

"Smalls and the crew, enslaved men seeking freedom, traveled the perilous journey in the early hours of May 13, 1862, past several heavily armed Confederate forts. Their goal was to meet their families hiding in secret then enter Union territory where escaped slaves were given shelter. . . . Their story is told in this beautifully crafted book through suspenseful artwork and perceptive prose. It is a tale of courage and hopes alongside the peril of the Civil War era. Robert Smalls made that escape and later went on to become an American Congressman and a hero." - The Children's Book Review

February 5, 2021

Jehan Jones-Radgowski

Jehan Jones-Radgowski

Jehan Jones-Radgowski is a U.S. Foreign Service Officer. She has lived all over the world, including South Africa, Spain, Venezuela, Ghana, and the Dominican Republic. She is a member of the Society of Children's Book Writers and Illustrators. Jehan currently lives in Germany with her family.

Go to the Author’s Page →