The Liberation of Gabriel King
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The Liberation of Gabriel King

3.91 of 5 stars 3.91  ·  rating details  ·  1,026 ratings  ·  198 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...more
Audio, 0 pages
Published June 28th 2005 by Listening Library (Audio) (first published June 16th 2005)
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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...more
Tiffany Cooke
Jul 11, 2011 Tiffany Cooke rated it 4 of 5 stars  ·  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
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...more
Abby Johnson
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...more
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
Feb 16, 2009 Malbadeen rated it 4 of 5 stars  ·  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.
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.
Janie Hepler
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.
Jessica Kohout
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
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...more
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...more
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...more
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...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
Oct 12, 2007 Debbie rated it 4 of 5 stars  ·  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
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.
My ten year old son and I read this together, and we had some very interesting discussions about what it means to be brave, how to stand up for what is right, and when to ask an adult for help. I loved the historical references which led to some deep conversations about Carter and the KKK. Great read for a 5th grade boy!
At first I thought this book was going to be too painful to read. The cruelty of people who hate is sometimes just too much. But the excellent storytelling skills of the author and the courage of the characters along with humor and grace kept me turning the pages till the end. This is a must read for all kids and adults.
Gabriel King is a boy who is afraid of spiders, dead bodies, loose cows (cows that have been release out of a gate) and things coming up in the fifth grade. So his friend Frita wilson decides to help him by making a list of all his fears and then facing those fears to overcome them. Frita also happens to be the only black child in a town with a Ku Klux Klan. So they spend the entire summer to help Gabriel overcome his fears, meanwhile, Frita has her own fears that she must face herself being the...more
Tracey Lantz
My son read this book in school and I read along with him to help with critical thinking skills and because I was curious when the teacher said it was her all-time favorite book. It was an excellent book, well written and had many important lessons, especially for a fifth grader.
Linda Lipko
Gabriel King is shy and weary of the neighborhood bullies. On the last day of fourth grade he decides fifth grade is not an option. The biggest, nastiest bully will be in his school. His spunky, feisty friend Frita decides that it is time for Gabriel to face his fears.

Compiling a list of his fears, Frita systematically prods him to face them one by one over the summer in preparation for fall.

This is a cute book, but a boring one. The characters were not well developed. Considering the fact that...more
This is a realistic story about a boy with a long list of fears, especially his fear of starting fifth grade because of the bullies who pick on him, and his best friend, who decides to help him conquer his fears. Set in 1976, the story includes the struggle for civil rights in the South. There were enough details to evoke the small town setting without overwhelming the story and enough peril to keep me from getting bogged down. It's a lovely story about how an individual can respond to fear, bul...more
Mark Dewey
Apr 03, 2010 Mark Dewey rated it 5 of 5 stars  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: Everyone, including children and fans of To Kill a Mockingbird
This was an excellent story and narrated excellently as an audiobook.

It's about this kid who is afraid of a lot of things, especially going into the next grade (because of the bullies he knows who will be there). His friend decides to help him overcome his fears, and much of the book is their adventures in doing so.

The protagonists are struggle for racial equality as a theme throughout the story.

The story flows well. It's a pretty fun story—great for people who like stories about kids in their f...more
It was so fun to be inside of a fifth-grader's mind again! This book has such powerful messages concerning racial equality, friendship, courage, and life in general. If you're looking for a quick and easy read, check this one out!
I read this one because I liked "Fat Kid Rules the World" so much. But this one - not so much. I'm not really sure why - maybe because I was expecting something a little edgier, a little funnier. I think it was edgy in that it deals with KKK activity - that's pretty heavy for a children's book. But the writing and the characters seemed to miss the spark that they had in Going's first book. Maybe she's just more adept at writing for teens, where it's OK to be irreverent and throw around some bad...more
Dave Archer
Such a great story for kids; I read it aloud to my students. The story centers on a 4th grade boy, scared of everything, and his friend, Frita, who makes it her mission to liberate him of all his fears. The story gives an opportunity to teach lessons on civil rights, Jimmy Carter, the ku klux klan, oppression, and courage, and perseverance. It started slowly but really picked up and my students were begging me to read it as we went. Definitely recommend it for teachers looking for a read aloud.
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How awesone this book is! 5 15 Jul 07, 2012 06:23PM  
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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
More about K.L. Going...
Fat Kid Rules the World King of the Screwups The Garden of Eve Saint Iggy Dog in Charge

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