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The Liberation of Gabriel King
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The Liberation of Gabriel King

3.94  ·  Rating Details ·  1,432 Ratings  ·  241 Reviews
Gabriel King believes he was born chicken. He’s afraid of spiders, corpses, loose cows, and just about everything related to the fifth grade. If it’s a choice between graduating or staying in the fourth grade forever, he’s going to stay put–only his best friend, Frita Wilson, won’t hear of it.
“Gabe,” says Frita, “we got to do something about you.” When Frita makes up her m
Audio, 0 pages
Published June 28th 2005 by Listening Library (Audio) (first published June 16th 2005)
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Jun 17, 2011 Laura rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
This is a great book - funny, funny! Set in the 70s, all about friendship between a boy and a girl who are different races. Awesome, hysterical, and a fast-read.
Jul 12, 2009 Janie rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: kids-fiction
I really enjoyed this book. I learned a lot of interesting stuff about Jimmy Carter, and the premise was cute. The book is short, but just the right length.
Jan 15, 2014 Jan rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Yesterday I saw this book sitting on the bookshelf in the 5th grade classroom where I was substituting. I picked it up to read during lunch, continued reading it during afternoon recess, and finished it after the students went home at the end of the day. I loved it! Couldn't put it down. What a sweet sweet story.

Gabriel King is a nine year old boy who is afraid of lots of things-spiders, basements, loose cows, ghosts, missing the school bus, killer robots, alligators, and getting his hand choppe
Ryk Stanton
Middle of the road book about a boy and a girl who decide to overcome their fears one summer. They make a list and start conquering them, but the risk elevates until they have captured the attention of some KKK members and put everyone around them on a racial collision course.

The ending let me down, but sections of the book were well done. I wouldn't necessarily recommend anyone run out and buy it, but if you want a quick read or if you're in need of Bicentennial-era young adult fiction then I w
Tiffany Cooke
Jul 11, 2011 Tiffany Cooke rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: People interested in the Civil Rights Movement, girls who like to read about friendship
Shelves: 2011
I really enjoyed this book. A younger reader can appreciate the story of friendship and overcoming your fears. A more mature reader can read it and understand the deeper fears of the kids, their families, and the town. Gabe is a white boy in a racist town. He is an only child of poor parents living in a trailer park. Frita is a black girl in a racist town. She has an older brother involved in The Black Panthers and parents who fight for civil rights. Their school is integrated, but many people ...more
Plot: The year is 1976. Gabriel King, just out of fourth grade, is afraid of many things, but moving up to fifth grade is the scariest thing of all. After all, he'll now be in the same wing of the school as Duke Evans and Frankie Carmen. Frita, Gabriel's best friend, also has fears some of which come from the prejudice people in their town have against black people. Frita decides that over summer she and Gabriel will make a list of their fears and face them one by one. This, she thinks, will mak ...more
I liked the two children and their summertime adventure of overcooming their fears. Children can relate to these characters, however, the themes of civil rights, Jimmy Carter's election, and the Bicentennial do not ring true in this setting for me. That said I actually lived in small town Georgia prior to and after Carter's election and worked as an elementary school librarian with 200 students. Yes, we had bullies, we were an integrated school, had a huge gap from very high to very low economic ...more
Jan 25, 2009 Jaemi rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: ya-fiction
Having read Fat Kid Rules the World, when I saw that K.L. Going had a new book out I just wanted to read it--I didn't really care what it was about. Last night I finally got to sit down with it, a couple hours later I was done.

For all that Gabriel King is apparently one tiny boy, he more than makes up for it in personality--even if he is a great big chicken. And that's where the liberating comes in. When Gabe misses Moving Up Day because of some bullies, his best friend Frita decides something h
Abby Johnson
Aug 26, 2009 Abby Johnson rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: audio
Fourth grader Gabriel King has decided that he's not going to the fifth grade. It's too scary. So his best friend Frita comes up with the idea of writing down everything they're afraid of and using the summer of 1976 to face every single fear on their list so that they'll be braver. Gabe's list is quite long. But when he finds something that Frita truly fears in their town, he knows he'll have to be brave so he can stand beside her and help her fight it.

This book was an unexpected joy to me. It
Mar 09, 2014 Daria rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
I chose this book because the cover caught my eye when I was browsing through a Scholastic magazine. This book is about a boy named Gabriel King who is scared of pretty much everything including bugs, corpses, and entering the the fifth grade. In the fifth grade Gabriel King believes he will be bullied constantly by upper class men at his new school. On the other hand, Gabriel's friend Frita knows how to be brave because she is the only African American in their school within a town that has an ...more
Sandown Public
Jan 20, 2016 Sandown Public rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
It 19s book like this one that remind me why I love middle grade novels so much- they 19re easy and quick to read, yet startlingly powerful in the messages they can deliver. They also remind me of my own childhood and the simplicity life held when I was younger.
The voice of the narration of this novel is terrific. It is narrated by Gabriel King, a boy about to enter the fifth grade. It really feels as though you 19re reading from the perspective of a child, albeit a very philosophic one. His bes
Feb 16, 2009 Malbadeen rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: Henry
Mostly I was 3 starring this book but somewhere along the way I shrugged my shoulders and started 4 starring it - ? Probably because of all the references to Jimmy Carter. For some reason that I can't completely explain or even understand myself, I have an unreasonable affection for Jimmy Carter.
It's summer 1976 in Georgia. The country is celebrating 200 years of independence, Jimmy Carter is running for president, and Gabriel King and his best friend Frita have decided to spend the summer conquering their fears. They both draw up lists: Gabriel's list includes spiders, centipedes and Frita's brother Terrence. Frita is afraid of the rope swing over the pond and the boorish, racist Evans family. With each other's encouragement they tackle one fear after the other, growing their courage. ...more
Mary Janelle
I don't remember where I heard about this book, but I'm SO GLAD I followed through. Read this with Simeon, who didn't argue even though it's a book about 4th grade friends. The author does an *amazing* job of covering really serious topics (poverty, race relations, segregation, KKK) and fears, both silly and life-or-death, all without feeling serious at all! Amazingly, the whole book has a somewhat funny, lighthearted feel to it and is a great pathway to discussing all of these issues in a kid-a ...more
Lexy Mcomber
Mar 22, 2016 Lexy Mcomber rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
The liberation of Gabriel King by K.L. Going is a good book. The story follows a young boy named Gabriel King and his friend Frita Wilson on quite a few adventures.

Characterization plays a very big part of this book. As you read the book you get to experience and read Gabriel King grow up more as well as become less of a "chicken". Not only do you get to see Gabriel develop you also get to see his best friend Frita develop too you get to see a different side of her than when the book began. The
Victoria Becker
The Liberation of Gabriel King is a lexile level 780 which translates to a S reading level. The target reading level for 5th grade is T, U and V at the end of 5th grade. This book would be a good book to start the year with because it is right below grade level and would ease the students back into school. It is also good for the beginning of discussions of human rights. It is historical fiction.
NYS CC Standard: Students Will Quote accurately from a text when explaining what the text
says explic
I'm a sucker for any book written about the 70's because being a child of that era it stirs up so many wonderful memories. This book takes place in small town Georgia in 1976. The nation is celebrating its 200th birthday and a humble peanut farmer, Jimmy Carter, is making a run for the presidency. Gabriel King and his best friend Frida are preparing for fourth grade graduation and moving up to the big kids section of the school. Gabe is a good kid but he has several fears and Frida is helping hi ...more
Jessica Kohout
Jun 27, 2010 Jessica Kohout rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Gabriel King is afraid of many things, most especially moving up to the fifth grade where bullies await him. His best friend Frita decides to help him face all of his fears so he will be able to move up to the next grade with her. They decide to make a list of all of their fears and face them, but Gabriel’s list is three times as long because he must face spiders, centipedes, Frita’s brother, and the old dirt road. The summer of 1976 not only holds these fear facing events, but it is also Americ ...more
Shelley Daugherty
Gabriel King is afraid of everything, but more than anything else, he is afraid of going into the 5th grade. Older boys have been tormenting him for years and he has had a year of peace since 4th grade is separate from the older classes but after "move up day" he can only worry about the next year. It will take a lot of work from, his best friend Frita, to make him brave enough to handle moving up. They spend their summer trying to "liberate" Gabe from his fears. From spiders and centipedes to F ...more
Willie Butts
Jun 01, 2010 Willie Butts rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: eng-353
Going, K. L. The Liberation of Gabriel King. New York: The Penguin Group, 2005.
Genre: Fiction
This is a story about a 10 years boy name Gabriel who is afraid of many things, who decided that he wasn’t going to go to the fifth grade because that is one of the many things he is afraid of. His best friend Frita (a black girl) develops a plan to make a list of all of their fears and conquer them one by one that would liberate him from all of his fears. At the end of the story both Frita and Gabriel
KidsFiction Teton County Library
J Going

A fantastic book! Great for boys and girls, and would make a wonderful read aloud! In this book, Gabriel King has just finished fourth grade, with the help of his one and only friend Frita Wilson. The unlikely friendhsip between Gabe, an Anglo boy who fears everything from speders to falling into the toilet, and Frita, an African American girl who seems fearless to Gabe and who uses big words when she speaks, is at the center of this moving story that takes place in the summer of 1976 in
Sep 05, 2015 Alisha rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: 4-star
Cover: I really enjoyed this cover. It is very simplistic and easy to look at, though I have to admit I’m not a fan of spiders, just like the main character, Gabriel King. But I did like the colors of the cover and wanted to read it to see what it was about.

Characters: This is a cute read about friends helping each other out with their fears of the unknown, spiders, swamps, bullies, and the fifth grade. I really enjoyed reading about the two main characters, Gabriel King and his best friend, Fri
Jun 20, 2013 Kelly rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Mackin Educational Resources has this book at a 4.5 reading level, and an interest level of grades 4 - 6. This seems just about right to me. Great book about racism, segregation, overcoming one's fears, friendship, bullying, and standing up for what's right.

Here's the review from School Library Journal:

Gr 4-7-In a small town in Georgia in 1976, Gabe King, who is white, and his friend Frita Wilson, who is African American, take on a special project. Gabe is determined not to go to fifth grade in
Oct 12, 2007 Debbie rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: prinz honor book
a Printz honor book for 2006. Grade 4-7–In a small town in Georgia in 1976, Gabe King, who is white, and his friend Frita Wilson, who is African American, take on a special project. Gabe is determined not to go to fifth grade in the fall, in the "big kids" wing of the school where he will be one of the smallest students and at the mercy of bullies Duke Evans and Frankie Carmen. Frita, however, has determined to use the summer to liberate her friend from his fears and make sure he moves up with h ...more
Gabriel King was a born chicken. He’s afraid of spiders, corpses, loose cows, and just about everything related to the fifth grade. Gabe’s best friend, Frita Wilson, thinks Gabe needs some liberating from his fears. Frita knows something about being brave— she’s the only black kid in school in a town with an active Ku Klux Klan. Together Gabe and Frita are going to spend t...more Gabriel King was a born chicken. He’s afraid of spiders, corpses, loose cows, and just about everything related to th ...more
It is the summer of 1976 and Frita Wilson and Gabe King are best friends. They have the whole summer ahead of them before entering the scary fifth grade with all the other, older middle school kids. Gade is especially afraid of Duke and Frankie, who bullied and teased Gabe in the past. Frita stands up for him, but he is small and easily taunted. One other thing you should know...Frita is black and Gabe is white and the Ku Klux Klan is active in their small town of Hallowell, GA. Gabe and Frita e ...more
Jun 10, 2015 Jaime rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
I love the shape of this plot. Just when I thought it would be a simple "growing up is hard" or "overcoming fears" for a 4th grade main character, historical events are thrown in to move the storyline forward, backward, and side to side! And, not typical "historical fiction" -- 1976 is a part of history from my own lifetime which brings even more life to Gabriel and his best friend Frita.
Jill Pickle
Dec 04, 2015 Jill Pickle rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: middle-grade
When Gabe decides there's no way he can survive fifth grade, his best friend Frita makes him a deal: if they spend the summer facing their fears together, then Gabe must promise to return to school in the fall. And so they face up to the things that scare them most, from Gabe's spider fright and his fear of calling his teacher "Momma" to Frita's more complicated worries, many of which stem from the fact that she is the only black student at a school in Georgia during the 1970s. Will Gabe make it ...more
Alison Worrell
Gabriel is a self-proclaimed chicken. He is afraid of everything. He lives in the South in a town that has several active KKK members. He is befriended by Frita, the only black student in town. She teaches him about being brave.

While there were a few one-dimensional characters in the story, The Liberation of Gabriel King was enjoyable and insightful. I highly recommend this for a younger audience. It explores what it means to have a friend and also contains some history of the time.
Gabriel King lives in rural Georgia in the 1970s. His best friend is Frida Wilson. They have decided to overcomes the personal fears they have over the summer, since they will be starting 5th grade. These include the school bullies, spiders, and the Ku Klux Klan. This book offers interesting characters and an important time in U.S. history.
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K.L. Going is the award winning author of numerous books for children and teens. Her first novel, Fat Kid Rules the World was named a Michael Printz Honor Book by the American Library Association, and was included on YALSA’s Best Books for Young Adults list and their list of Best Books for the Past Decade. Her books have been Booksense picks, Scholastic Book Club choices, Junior Library Guild sele ...more
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