Queen of Freedom

Defending Jamaica

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Pub Date 7 May 2024 | Archive Date 16 Jan 2024
Pushkin Press | Pushkin Children's Books

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THE THRILLING TRUE STORY OF HOW ONE WOMAN MASTERMINDED SLAVE RESISTANCE to British rule in eighteenth-century Jamaica - part of the True Adventures series

1720. Blue Mountains, windward Jamaica. High above the army camps and plantations of the British Empire, a group of ex-slaves - called Maroons are building a new home for themselves.

When British soldiers enter the forests to hunt them down, one of the Maroons will lead the fight against them - Queen Nanny, a 'wise woman' with a reputation for ancient obeah magic, and a guerrilla fighter of genius. Under her generalship, her people will make a do-or-die defence of their freedom.
THE THRILLING TRUE STORY OF HOW ONE WOMAN MASTERMINDED SLAVE RESISTANCE to British rule in eighteenth-century Jamaica - part of the True Adventures series

1720. Blue Mountains, windward Jamaica. High...

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ISBN 9781782692799
PRICE US$13.95 (USD)

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Average rating from 7 members

Featured Reviews

The story provides a compelling and educational journey through the often-overlooked history of slave resistance in 18th century Jamaica. The author has skillfully weaved together historical facts with engaging storytelling, making it accessible and captivating for children. The vibrant illustrations complement the narrative, bringing the historical events to life and engaging young minds. Will recommend this book to my students!

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This thrilling and educational book is based on the true story of Nanny, Queen of Freedom.

Set in the Blue Mountains of Jamaica in the 18th Century when British Empirical rule was brutally against freedom for the native population of Jamaica, forcing them into slavery to work in the plantations. A group of ex-slaves set up a new home in the forests and when the British Army hunts them down and attacks them, a female warrior known as Queen Nanny takes a stand and rallies her people to fight back to maintain their freedom. They were known as The Maroons and she became their leader in a guerrilla fight for the right to live and live freely.

Whilst this story is partly fictional, Catherine Johnson has woven her usual magic and based it largely in truth to create an engaging, inspirational and historical text that is perfect for children age 9-14. For those studying the slave trade and the American Revolution, this book will support and supplement their studies. For those who are ignorant to the atrocities of the history of the British Empire, this book serves as an education and a reminder of the mistakes of the past.

Thank you to Net Galley and Pushkin Press for sending this eBook for review consideration. All opinions are our own.

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In "Queen of Freedom: Defending Jamaica", Catherine Johnson captivates with a blend of history and fiction, chronicling the intrepid life of Queen Nanny, a seminal figure in the resistance against British colonial rule in 18th-century Jamaica.

I had a very vague understanding of Maroons being ex-slave and freedom fighters and none of the history. This is a great introduction to several historical characters of the period and is a springboard to finding out more. The timeline at the back and glossary is really useful for those who want to find out more. Additionally, there are free resources for teachers and educators to download from the publisher's website.

Set amidst the verdant Blue Mountains, this book vividly recounts the tales of the Maroons, communities formed by escaped slaves, showcasing their relentless quest for liberty. While the story incorporates fictional elements, its foundation in historical truths makes it a pivotal introduction to a legendary heroine like Queen Nanny. The narrative, enriched by dynamic illustrations, is an indispensable resource for any reader who wants to know more about Jamaica and its slave trade.
Five men, one woman, all, yoked together and shuffling. The saddest kind of dance, Nanny thought. Then behind them, not tall enough to fit in the yoke, two small boys, one tinier than Yaw, his belly stretched round– not with food, Nanny knew, but with hunger. They were all shining, the oil rubbed into their skin to make them look healthy. Their eyes all empty, like walking dead folk."

It sheds light on the often overlooked aspects of British Empire history, prompting further exploration into the courage and determination of the Maroons.

‘Why they do this to us, you think?’ he said. Nanny looked at him. ‘Because they can.’

While Queen Nanny remains an enigmatic figure due to scarce historical records, the author skilfully brings her to life, balancing factual details with creative narration.

This book not only highlights the themes of resilience and freedom but also offers young readers a window into the complexities of Jamaica's slave history, an area often underrepresented in the mainstream. I know it wasn’t referenced in history lessons when I was a child in English schools.

It pleasing to see that Queen Nanny was represented as how she was likely to have been in real life: a clever woman making strategic decisions. Based on comparable fighter numbers, the maroons were outnumbered, to remain free, smart decisions had to be made. Queen Nanny made those decisions in a time that the status of women was low even for a slave. Being under estimated by the British worked for her.

I am new to the book series True Adventures, but if "Queen of Freedom: Defending Jamaica" is indicative of the range of historical personalities and insightful information shared, then I will know where to look for my next great read.

My thanks to Pushkin Press and NetGalley for a digital advance copy in exchange for a honest review.

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This was the perfect historical fiction text for those of us who desire to make Queen Nanny our historical icon. The action is enough to draw students in and complement with an article to uncover more about Nanny and the Maroons. Being a Maroon myself, I am proud to present this to my students as a piece of my history.

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I requested this book as it was listed under non-fiction, but as the title suggests it is an adventure story, and feels more like historical fiction.

This adventure story for children brings a fascinating figure of Queen Nanny who came from Ghana to Jamaica and supposedly was never a slave.

Set in Jamaica in 1720s, a group of ex-slaves called Maroons make a new life for themselves in the Blue Mountains. When the British soldiers try to hunt them down, the Maroons are organized and led by Queen Nanny, who was already known for her ancient magic and tactical fighting.

The legendary figure of Nanny and the fight for freedom come to life. Not an easy subject to present in an understandable way for children. Yet, the truth is presented in a skillful way. There are a lot of gaps when it comes to the character of Nanny, and those gaps are filled in an engaging way.

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I think I would have enjoyed the "True Adventures" series as a kid. Historical fiction based on awesome, but little known figures who kicked ass? Yes, please!

"Queen of Freedom" introduces the 18th c. Jamaican national hero, Nanny of the Maroons, a black woman who fought a guerilla war against the British, getting not only a reputation for being extraordinarily adept at using magic, but also an agreement with the British to let her and her people live free. It's said she saved many slaves from their lot. And, honestly, the tale is fun, and it made me want to find out more; the only problem with it is that the passage of time isn't clear at all, nor is Nanny's age.

The story is written straightforwardly and in simple language, but it works for kids, especially if you're trying to reach a larger number of them. (As a kid, I used to have books shoved at me from the time I joined school, and I had to deal with the language regardless; it worked out, but I'm not sure if others would have been just as undaunted.)

What I particularly like, though, is the author's note at the end, explaining that Nanny's history is mostly lost amidst contradicting legends, so many details had to be made up for this story to work. I really appreciate the honesty of getting people used to the fact that historical fiction doesn't perfectly reflect reality; perhaps, if we had more notes like that, we'd have fewer people believing Hollywood is mostly true to life.

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This book is a children’s nonfiction book about a slave rebellion is Jamaica against the British in 1720.

I thought this book was good! It is a hard topic for children but it was presented in a good way for kids to understand. It does have some gore so beware if you’re letting your kid read this one.

I liked the illustrations as well. I didn’t know much about this topic beforehand but this book had a lot of information. It also was set up as adventure so instead of being bored, kids will find this one interesting.

Thanks so much to netgalley and the publisher for the arc of this one in exchange for an honest review!

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