The Escape of Robert Smalls: A Daring Voyage of Slavery by Jehan Jones-Radgowski, Illustrated by Poppy Kang [CeCe’s Multicultural Children’s Book Day Review] #ReadYourWorld

The Escape of Robert Smalls: A Daring Voyage Out of SlaveryThe Escape of Robert Smalls: A Daring Voyage Out of Slavery by Jehan Jones-Radgowski
Published: September 2019
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

I received a copy of Jehan Jones-Radgowski’s book The Escape of Robert Smalls: A Daring Voyage Out of Slavery from Capstone Editions as a 2020 participant in the Multicultural Children’s Book Day and I am grateful to be able to add this to our elementary library collection. It shares the true story of Robert Smalls and his heroic escape from the Confederate south, leading his crew and their families to freedom in 1862. Sailing past heavily armed forts under the cover of night towards a Union fleet in the midst of the U.S. Civil War. It was risky but he was ready.

Robert Smalls’s story is one of resilience, patience, and prudent preparation. It was inspiring to see how he grew in his knowledge of the ins and outs of operating the ship he worked on; memorizing the routes and becoming a wheelman. He was able to take what he learned and see his plan through to completion. Now in the North, he’d go on to fight as the first black captain of a U.S. military ship and retire as a U.S. Congressman.

Through Jehan Jones-Radgowski’s thorough narrative, the reader will get to meet a brilliant man of courage. This book is recommended for grades 3-6 and would make a great classroom read aloud but it is written in a way that is accessible to the independent reader too because the writing is clear and straightforward. The backmatter includes a glossary and an Afterword that provides more detail about Robert Smalls and his achievements.

Thank you to Valarie Budayr and Mia Wenjen, the co-founders of Multicultural Children’s Book Day, for organizing this year’s event and for getting books into the hands of readers.

View all my reviews


Jehan Jones-Radgowski |

Poppy Kang |

Capstone Editions
A Capstone Imprint

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