Book Review | The Legend of Freedom Hill
by Linda Jacobs Altman

Score: 3

Illustrated by Cornelius Van Wright & Ying-Hwa Hu

© 2000, Lee & Low Books.

During the Gold Rush of the 1850′s, Rosabel and Sophie are best friends because they are both outsiders in a very small California town.  Rosabel is African American and Sophie is Jewish.

Although Rosabel is free and has papers to prove it, Miz Violet, her mother, is still considered “a runaway slave” although she is living in California, a free state.  When a slave catcher comes to town and finds Miz Violet, Rosabel runs to Sophie’s home for help. Without question, the family takes her in during their Shabbat meal. That night the girls make a plan for saving Miz Violet – they will dig for gold and pay for her freedom.

The girls’ ensuing adventure involving panning for gold on the riverbanks,  some helpful advice from the local assayer, getting stuck in small places and running into unfriendly foxes, leads them to their dream come true – a gold nugget big enough to ransom Miz Violet.  Not only that, the girls’ decide to give their “claim” over to the slave catcher in order to pay for the release of all the slaves he caught along with Miz Violet.  Thus earning the name Freedom Hill for the site of their found gold.

This is a beautiful story about friendship, but more importantly a wonderful illustration of the value of Pidyon Shvuyim/Redeeming the Captive. The artwork in this book is extraordinary watercolor paintings that reveal the joy, fear, heartbreak and wonder that the characters endure during their adventure.

A PJ Library book.

Grade Level: K- 3rd

©2010 Kathleen M. Bloomfield and all rights reserved.
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One Response to “The Legend of Freedom Hill”

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