Freedom Train

Author Coleman, Evelyn
Language English
New York: Margaret K. McElderry Books, 2012


While his older brother is a guard aboard the Freedom Train, which is carrying the Bill of Rights throughout the country in 1948, Clyde Thomason also learns about rights when he is saved from a beating by an African American boy.

Subjects :

  • Freedom Train Fiction
  • Bullies Fiction
  • Schools Fiction
  • Atlanta (Ga.) Fiction
  • Georgia Fiction History
  • Family Life Fiction
  • Race Relations Fiction

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Author Illustrator(s) :

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Best Books :

  • 28 Days Later, 2009 , Middle Grade Feature
  • Notable Social Studies Trade Books for Young People, 2009 , History, Life and Culture in the Americas

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Awards, Honors & Prizes :

  • Parents' Choice Award , Historical Fiction , 2008

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State & Provincial Reading List :

  • Battle of the Books; Elementary 2009-2010
  • William Allen White Children's Book Award; Grades 3-5 2010-2011

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Reading Measurement Programs:

() .

Lexile, MetaMetrics, Inc.

Reading Counts-Scholastic
Reading Level 3.7
Interest Level 3-5
Title Point Value 7

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Reviews :

Kirkus (Kirkus)
Clyde Thompson may be the shortest 12-year-old in seventh grade, but he learns to stand tall in this story about the Freedom Train's arrival in Atlanta in 1949. The train is traveling the country to bring the great freedom documents the Gettysburg Address, the Constitution, the Bill of Rights to the American people. Clyde's older brother Joseph is a guard on the train and has befriended a black man named W.C. Lounds, though Clyde says, "I ain't never heard of a colored man being a white man's best friend." Clyde's own new friendship with an African-American boy named William Dobbs puts him in the middle of racial tensions in his city, but the courage of William, the example of Joseph and the spirit of freedom represented by the Freedom Train empower Clyde to do the right thing when necessary. The novel is heavy-handed and self-consciously inspirational, but it's a fine story of a moment in history when times were changing and the Freedom Train reminded Americans of their better selves. (author's historical note) 2008, McElderry, 160p, $15.99. Category: Fiction. Ages 8 to 12. © 2007 Kirkus Reviews/VNU eMedia, Inc. All rights reserved.
(PUBLISHER: Margaret K. McElderry Books (New York:), PUBLISHED: c2008.)

Karen Coats (Bulletin)
Twelve-year-old Clyde is mostly proud of having an older brother who is a decorated Marine serving as a guard aboard the Freedom Train, the locomotive that s traveling the country in 1947 bringing historical documents and artifacts to excited throngs, but he s a little grumpy, too, since all anyone can talk about is how wonderful his brother is, while he spends most of his time in trouble. Plus he s being bullied by Phillip Granger and he can t really fight back, since Phillip s father is a boss at the cotton mill where his mother works. When Phillip jumps him on the way home from school and knocks him unconscious with a plank to the head, help comes from the shadows as a black boy named William pelts Phillip with stones from his slingshot and then takes Clyde home to his father, a doctor, who fixes him up. Clyde tells no one about his encounter with the black family, but he has his chance to repay the favor when the Columbians, a group similar to the Klan, attempt to run the doctor and his family out of town. While Coleman captures the voice of a Southern, working-class white boy of the 40s, the narrative is ungainly in its purposiveness, and it debases to outright sermonizing as Clyde overcomes his problem with stuttering and speaking in public just in time to recite the Freedom Pledge, supposedly because he has finally understood what it really means. When Clyde declares that the resultant courage he finds to openly befriend William is a better Christmas present than the American Flyer train set that he had his heart set on, the sap all but clogs the works. However, if subtlety isn t a necessary virtue in historical fiction for this age group, Coleman s blend of trains, fights, frogs, and male honor will appeal to burgeoning young patriots. An historical note on the Freedom Train, including some pictures and a website where the songs referenced can be heard, is included Review Code: Ad -- Additional book of acceptable quality for collections needing more material in the area. (c) Copyright 2006, The Board of Trustees of the University of Illinois. 2008, McElderry, 140p., $15.99. Grades 4-7.
(PUBLISHER: Margaret K. McElderry Books (New York:), PUBLISHED: c2008.)

Monserrat Urena (Children's Literature)
It is 1947, and Clyde Thomason is looking forward to seeing his older brother Joseph. His brother is one of the guards on the Freedom Train. This important train, filled with documents like the Declaration of Independence and the Bill of Rights, will be visiting forty-eight states. Going from town to town, it gives many a chance to glimpse at their shared history. To further stress the idea of a shared history, the train will not stop at towns that refuse to integrate the lines, allowing people of all races equal access to the treasured documents. Out of the children in his class, Clyde has been chosen to recite the Freedom Pledge when the Freedom Train arrives in town. But Clyde is terrified of speaking in public. It is not until he comes face to face with the cruelty of injustice that he truly experiences the meaning of freedom and how it is meant for all humanity. This book was an unexpected pleasure and a strong work. Its detail is beautiful and, at times, painful. Its voice jumps out at you from the first page and does not lose its potency throughout the rest of the work. The reader genuinely likes and becomes involved with Clyde and his family. This is a must-read. 2008, Margaret K. McElderry Books, $15.99. Ages 8 to 12.
(PUBLISHER: Margaret K. McElderry Books (New York:), PUBLISHED: c2008.)

Hazel Rochman (Booklist)
Many recent historical novels, including Robert Sharenow s My Mother the Cheerleader (2007) and Tony Johnston s Bone by Bone by Bone (2007), tell about civil rights through the story of the white kid who rejects his parents racism. Coleman s novel, for a somewhat younger audience, uses issues of class as well as race to tell her story of a poor white kid, dismissed as white trash, in Atlanta in 1947. Clyde, 12, knows playing with coloreds in his neighborhood is not safe, but when Dad joins a racist protest to drive out a black doctor and his family, Clyde refuses to go along. He is excited that his older brother, a World War II veteran, is one of the guards on the Freedom Train, which is carrying documents such as the Bill of Rights across the country; something about those documents means something to him. Too much message is spelled out, but the triumphant climax is heartrending as Clyde overcomes his nervous stammer and reads the Freedom Pledge to the crowd as the train comes in. Grades 5-8
(PUBLISHER: Simon & Schuster., PUBLISHED: 2008)

Dawn Cobb (HeartOfTexas)
Clyde Thomason, whose brother is one of the guards on the Freedom Train, has been selected to recite the Freedom Pledge when the train passes through Atlanta, Georgia. Clyde has a stuttering problem that occurs when he becomes nervous. Because of this problem, he doesn t want to accept the honor. Phillip Granger, the class bully, always picks on Clyde. Through a series of incidents, Clyde makes new friends who give him the courage to stand up to Phillip and accept the honored position his teacher, Miss Fowler, has requested he perform. This entertaining and touching story is based on the real Freedom Train that traveled across the United States during the 1940s. It was a time that allowed ordinary citizens to observe the actual documents which are held so dearly by all Americans. This is an excellent book that will be an asset to an American history collection. Fiction. Grades 3-6. 2008, McElderry Books, 140p., $15.99. Ages 8 to 12.
(PUBLISHER: Margaret K. McElderry Books (New York:), PUBLISHED: c2008.)

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Publication Details:

  Publisher ISBN Notes
New York: Margaret K. McElderry Books, 2012

Media Type: Language Material
140 p.:
PZ7.C6746 ([Fic])
Reprint. Originally published c2008.
Margaret K. McElderry Books (New York:), PUBLISHED: c2008.,

Media Type:


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