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The Escape of Robert Smalls: A Daring Voyage Out of Slavery
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The Escape of Robert Smalls: A Daring Voyage Out of Slavery

4.51  ·  Rating details ·  75 ratings  ·  48 reviews
The mist in Charleston Inner Harbor was heavy, but not heavy enough to disguise the stolen Confederate steamship, the Planter, from Confederate soldiers. In the early hours of May 13, 1862, in the midst of the deadly U.S. Civil War, an enslaved man named Robert Smalls was about to carry out a perilous plan of escape. Standing at the helm of the ship, Smalls impersonated ...more
Hardcover, 40 pages
Published October 1st 2019 by Capstone Editions
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Average rating 4.51  · 
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 ·  75 ratings  ·  48 reviews

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Jan 29, 2019 rated it really liked it
A book that combine a thrilling story, there is definitely tension in this one, and historical persons and facts. I always find it interesting to get the chance to know ordinary people who «change» or at least let their mark on history by their action. Maybe a bit long for the targeted readers, but a good book about and important period in the US history!
Jessica ☕ Rodrigues
Apr 03, 2019 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: kids-nonfic, arc
I am so happy this book exists! Robert Smalls is an American hero who hasn't gotten nearly as many national holidays and monuments as he deserves.

This story does an excellent job of describing just how dangerous the mission was, and just how brave and clever Mr. Smalls had to have been.

Maybe we can get a sequel? :)

arc received from the publisher
Aug 14, 2019 rated it it was amazing
First of all, I have to say just how much I love children's picture books that tell about stories that happened in real life. They bring history alive for kids. All the dates and names and numbers in the history books never worked for me. I needed the stories of the people to help explain what really went on and why it was so important. And that's why I cant praise this book enough.

Jehan Jones Radgowski depicts the heroic acts of Robert Smalls in a simple yet powerful way that even the youngest
Aug 16, 2019 rated it it was amazing
This picture biography really captures the perilous situation Robert Smalls and his passengers were in when they made their daring escape -- right under the noses of the Confederates. I love the illustrations as they do a wonderful job in depicting details like Smalls resemblance to the boat captain and the route the steamship took to freedom. A more detailed explanation on slavery, the Civil War and the rest of the story for Robert is included at the back of the book. Robert Small is an ...more
Christina Carter
Feb 01, 2020 rated it it was amazing
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 ...more
Sep 24, 2019 rated it it was amazing
Fantastic picture book detailing one particular moment in the incredible life of Robert Smalls. Smalls was born into slavery in South Carolina but went on to become a free man elected to serve in both the South Carolina Legislature and the US House of Representatives. He led an amazing life, but this book focuses on his daring escape from slavery during the Civil War. He was a sailor on a Confederate ship, and one night when the captain and white crew members were off-ship, he and the other ...more
Michelle Leonard
Aug 22, 2019 rated it it was amazing
I had never heard about Robert Smalls, but after reading THE ESCAPE OF ROBERT SMALLS: A DARING VOYAGE OUT OF SLAVERY his story is one I will never forget. Robert was an enslaved black man, born in Beaufort, SC in 1839, who worked on a Confederate Army supply ship, the Planter, in Charleston during the Civil War. He was very clever and observant. By watching the captain day after day, Robert learned how to sail the ship. Then one night, he hatched a plan to steal the ship and turn it over to the ...more
Apr 22, 2019 rated it really liked it
n the early morning hours of May 13, 1862, Robert Smalls poses as a Confederate warship captain to lead a crew of slaves on a daring escape. With a ship full of crew and family, they must pass by one of the most highly defended Confederate forts. Will Smalls be able to successfully impersonate the captain and lead the ship to safety? Or will their escape be over before it even starts?

Based on a true story, this book introduces readers ages 9-12 to one of the little known heroes of the Civil War.
Sep 05, 2019 rated it it was amazing
I am so impressed with the book, The Escape of Robert Smalls by Jehan Jones Radgowski. I thought from the description that it would be a longer read geared towards fourth grade and up. I am sure that they would enjoy this story too but it is just right for a second grade reader. Wonderful, authentic, meaning text that developing reader can learn from as well as enjoy reading. Not too long, not too short; a clear concise narrative of the escape with interesting illustrations to go along it The ...more
Oct 18, 2019 rated it really liked it
The Escape of Robert Smalls is a children’s read aloud book with fabulous illustrations by Poppy Kang and written by Jehan Jones-Radgowski. The book shares a story of a man determined to be free at a time when being free was not an easy option for a black man.

Robert Smalls was a slave born in South Carolina. He was born at a time when slavery was allowed in the Southern states, but not in the Northern States. Many slaves wanted to escape to freedom, but the treacherous journey, as well as the
Brittany Searfoss
Aug 01, 2019 rated it it was amazing
Robert Smalls was a slave during the Civil War, and he had a job on a Confederate warship which enabled him to get close to the captain. Since the captain broke protocol and left the ship in Robert's control in order to visit family, Robert was able to escape from slavery with his family, the crew, and their families because of his quick wits, careful planning, and bravery in the face of danger.
This book is well written, tells historical events in a simple, comprehensible way, and has
Lorie Barber
A definite add to my classroom library, for both #classroombookaday and for our Civil War inquiry unit. This is a narrative informational text that breaks the “single story” of slavery in America: that enslaved African Americans could do little to fight for their freedom. The opposite is true: despite severe oppression and cruelty at the hands of their owners, enslaved people were tenacious, intelligent, and resilient people. Robert Smalls’ biography - beautifully written and with illustrations ...more
Feb 16, 2019 rated it really liked it
This is a well done illustrated book focusing on Robert Smalls who planned and executed an escape from slavery during the Civil War. The simplicity of the language allows younger readers to understand the history, although some vocabulary is challenging but appropriate. The author provides both an afterward and glossary, enhancing the historical value of using this book in the classroom or teaching. Enticing young readers or young listeners, the author artfully employs tension to move the story ...more
Seema Rao
Feb 08, 2019 rated it it was amazing
An exceptional picture book for older readers. This book tells the true story of an enslaved person who figures out a way to escape during the Civil War. The story of Robert Smalls was one I didn't know, and I was very glad to read the tale. The images and text were well done. The pictures reminded me of early American paintings in their sparse simplicity. The story is told with care but with honesty. I would recommend this to anyone looking for a non-fiction book for their child, particularly a ...more
Jul 04, 2019 rated it it was amazing
I was lucky enough to get an advanced copy of this book from Netgalley. Thank You so much to Jhan Jones Radgowski for writing this book! The Escape of Robert Smalls will give children and grade schoolers a terrific insight into the Civil War and what it was all about. The pictures were nicely illustrated and depicted the events of the story well. There was also a short one page history of Robert Smalls and the Civil war in the back as well as a page of glossary terms. Both of these items will be ...more
Mar 11, 2019 rated it liked it
Thank you to NetGalley and this publisher for allowing an advanced viewing of this book.

It is important that children find role models in whom they can see similarities and likeness to themselves.
The fact that this man looked much like his caucasian counterpart is wonderful. We have so few differences. I love when the similarities are the focus.

I think students will be encouraged by this book. They will feel a sense of adventure as the crew and their families pass each point in their journey
Jan 30, 2019 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: netgalley
Excellent, easy, fun way to learn history! The title captures the whole story. The wording/written text is very good, compelling, interesting....& the illustrations that go along with it are wonderful, portraying the whole event very well to the reader. The target audience is said to be 9-12 y/o, but this adult also found it a very good read. I thoroughly enjoyed every page, including the 'Afterword' at the end...explaining some US history, & about the real Robert Smalls life. Very well ...more
Feb 03, 2019 rated it really liked it
The Escape of Robert Smalls: A Daring Voyage Out of Slavery (Hardcover)
by Jehan Jones-Radgowski
Robert Smalls and his fellow sailors do a daring escape for freedom, past two forts and into the enemy territory. Having lived his life as a slave, Robert Smalls learned to understand the parts and processes of a steam ship. His daring plan to help his family may just cost them all their lives. The book focuses on the historical and political problems with slavery, and the battle of the union.
Rebecca Hill
When it comes to freedom, one is willing to risk anything. Robert Smalls was no exception, and he was not only thinking of himself. He took a total of 16 people to freedom, after stealing a confederate steamboat.
This amazing story is great for kids who are learning the history of the United States. Not only was Robert Smalls a slave, but he ended up serving the United States government in the house of Representatives.

This is one amazing story and it deserves to be shared! Get this and read it
Katie Reilley
Apr 01, 2019 rated it it was amazing
Thank you to Capstone Publishing for sharing an advanced copy of this one with our #bookexpedition group.

The Escape of Robert Smalls tells the narrative of an enslaved man impersonating the captain of The Planter as he passed the ship through Confederate forts & entered Union territory. After his daring escape, Smalls joined the Navy & later on became the first black captain of a U.S. military ship, fighting in 17 battles. After the war, Smalls became a politician, serving as a U.S.
Neha Thakkar
Jun 09, 2019 rated it it was amazing
This is a story about Robert Smalls, an enslaved man who escapes with his family. He uses the skills he has and opportunities that arise as a shipmate (really a pilot and most likely captain, but not recognized as so because he was enslaved). He plans an escape that saves his family and 7 others. End pages also include more information about him, would be great to use bibliography to learn more about him and others like him and his family. #EscapeOfRobertSmalls #NetGalley
This was an interesting picture book to read, especially as it's inspired/based on real events. The illustrations fit the story well and sets the mood. I think this book would be great in a classroom library and/or could work well in terms of introducing kids to the topics of civil war and/or slavery.
Nov 21, 2019 rated it really liked it
The illustrations here are bold in a way that really conveys the tension and danger of the escape that Smalls and the others on the ship made.

The text is always clear that there is a lot of danger, but it's not always clear in the moment what the danger is (how/why they would get caught going past the forts). But by the end, the amount of care, preparation, work, and courage that went into the escape comes through.

The story ends with the group being welcomed onto the Union ship; the back matter
Sara Magnafichi
Aug 31, 2019 rated it really liked it
Shelves: picture-books
Thank you to Capstone for providing #Collabookation an advanced copy of this picture book out Sept. 1, 2019. This narrative biography about Robert Smalls, shows how a brave young man helped many escape from the Confederate by steering the ship called the Planter toward the Union ships and freedom. A great picture book to add to any history class! The back matter of this book is great, as well!
Emma Filbrun
Oct 03, 2019 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: review-copies
This book was very interesting. I read it aloud to my 4-, 7-, and 9-year-olds, and they were engrossed in the story. The text is written in a very appealing way, and the tension keeps building till the very end. The pictures are great, too, with lots of action. I like the realistic oil paintings.
Mar 09, 2019 rated it it was amazing
This was a good merging of story with pictures for young readers. I just think the page at the end with what Smalls did after the escape is for adults. A few pages at the end for young readers with what smalls did would add to this book. I am going to recommend we get this for our library.
Brian Smeltzer
Aug 18, 2019 rated it it was amazing
What a great book! Having never heard of Robert Smalls, I was intrigued by his story. I was not disappointed! The writing and imagery draw the reader in quickly. This is a must have as a read aloud in Civil War conversations. #EscapeOfRobertSmalls #Netgslley
Marta Ilieva
Mar 31, 2019 rated it it was amazing
The Escape of Robert Smalls is a great elementary/middle-school grade appropriate read about a historical figure Robert Smalls. Great presentation of history along with beautiful artwork.

Thank you NetGalley and publisher for this eARC. Opinions expressed in this review are completely my own.
I enjoyed the story, but it was too wordy for a picture book.
Feb 28, 2019 rated it it was amazing
This was a cute story about a true American hero of the civil war. Thank you netgalley for the chance to read it early
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