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Joyce Hansen
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I Thought My Soul Would Rise and Fly: The Diary of Patsy, a Freed Girl Mars Bluff, South Carolina, 1865

(Dear America)

3.90  ·  Rating details ·  4,612 ratings  ·  190 reviews
Since she had secretly learned to read and write as a slave, 12-year-old Patsy is able to document her new life and dreams now that she is free. A time that isn't often written about, the Reconstruction Period offers a fascinating milieu for the reflections of a young girl as she determines what freedom means to her. An epilogue, historical notes, photos, and maps provide ...more
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Published April 1st 2005 by Live Oak Media (NY) (first published 1997)
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Popular Answered Questions
Asteropê Yes, there are many towns in the South founded or settled by former slaves. Here are some articles and sites:

"Black towns, established by freed slave…more
Yes, there are many towns in the South founded or settled by former slaves. Here are some articles and sites:

"Black towns, established by freed slaves after the Civil War, are dying out" - https://www.washingtonpost.com/local/...

"History’s Lost Black Towns" - http://www.theroot.com/photos/black_t...

"Black History Month: Former Slave Founded a Town" - http://www.huffingtonpost.com/kate-ke...

"All-black towns across America: Life was hard but full of promise" - https://www.washingtonpost.com/lifest...

Etc. (less)
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Average rating 3.90  · 
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 ·  4,612 ratings  ·  190 reviews


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Start your review of I Thought My Soul Would Rise and Fly: The Diary of Patsy, a Freed Girl Mars Bluff, South Carolina, 1865
Alexandra
Mar 08, 2016 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
I've loved the Dear America books ever since I was in elementary school. my school library used to have a limit to how many books you could take out at a time (if I remember correctly, it was two) and I used to always rush over to the section where this series was kept and grab up any two I hadn't yet read. very recently I found a bunch of these books for sale at a used book sale and I bought a whole bunch and I am having a wonderful time re-reading them so far.

I Thought My Soul Would Rise and
...more
Kathy Davie
Jun 13, 2013 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: history, children
This chapter book is part of the Dear America series from Scholastic with a story based from the viewpoint of a young, recently freed slave girl in Mars Bluff, South Carolina, in 1865.

This tale is also a Coretta Scott King Honor book.

My Take
I just kept wanting to cry throughout this story, but I had to laugh as well, for Patsy had everyone fooled. Her own rebellion, and I'm with Patsy at the joke. It's also sad from a very personal standpoint as Patsy is both the least of the slaves, the most un
...more
Jess the Shelf-Declared Bibliophile
I’m so happy I rediscovered this series at a thrift shop. The story was wonderful!
Amy
Mar 17, 2008 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: Anyone who loves a good story
I loved this book!!!!!! It was so great and it helped me view more of what the salves went though! Being black I loved to see what their view of life was.
Courtney
I remember trying to read this book in elementary school. Dear America books were a hot commodity and it was difficult to get a hold of one in the school library and so I was excited to discover this book, which was "new" to me because no one in my class had read this one. However, I ultimately abandoned it because I really had no idea what was going on. California schools teach absolutely nothing about the Reconstruction era. Not to mention, this book is very introspective and focuses on Patsy' ...more
Destiny Velazquez

The historical fiction book, Thought My Soul Would Rise and Fly: The Diary of Patsy a Freed Girl Mars Bluff South Carolina 1865, is an entertaining, enchanting, emotional book. The book is now one of my favorite books I have read. It shows the perspective of a young african girl who was a slave for as long as she could remember. Until the civil war ended and if she was able to leave the people that she worked for and start a new life. But she did not want to, she kept on thinking that her family
...more
Mary-Jane
Mar 25, 2019 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: children-s-lit
This book is set in 1865 just after slavery has been abolished. It is about Patsy, a slave, who is apparently "free" now, although she has no idea how that's any different since she has no family and no means of supporting herself. It was probably the first book I've read from a slave's perspective post-slavery. Loved it!
Lauren H
I thought that this book is one of my favorite books ever
Felix Mou
The books talk about a black girl slave called patsy, she learned how to read and write secretly and pretend she was a fool in the real life. In 1865 in us during the civil war, after the slavery have got abolished, slaves in Davis Hall decided to keeps serving their master. Patsy hopes to get back together with her family to start the new life but there was no one come for her, as she growing up, she begans to use her talent to teach the child how to reads and write in the limited space but she ...more
Danny
Jan 31, 2018 rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition
This book is written by Joyce Hansen. In this book The Diary of Patsy it talks about life of a normal enslaved black. Patsy was a slave in Davis Hall, she got a diary one day so she could record things happen she saw. Because of slave is illegal to learn so Patsy needed to hide her diary and learned secretly. She didn't like her life while she was a slave, she wanted freedom and slaves got freedom finally. However in Davis Hall they were still a slave. As the story progresses, most of workers in ...more
Catie
Jun 07, 2020 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
I loved these Dear America when I was younger. I just wish there were more available on audio from my library. Sadly there are only two. Great narration.
Nsikan Akpan
Sep 01, 2020 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
It’s refreshing to go back and read the books that were on the shelves of my elementary school library.
Julianna
Oct 06, 2008 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: Fans of Historical Fiction - Young & Old
Reviewed for THC Reviews
Being a lover of history and historical fiction, I've been very excited about trying out the Dear America series for quite some time. Since all the books are written by different authors, I'm not sure how they compare to this one, but I was very pleased with my first foray into the series. I Thought My Soul Would Rise and Fly chronicles the life of a freed slave girl a few months after emancipation was voted into law. I was pretty sure the book was a work of fiction, but
...more
David Chen
Jan 20, 2018 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
In Joyce Hansen's book "I Thought My Soul would Rise and Fly". It talks about life of an African American girl. Patsy was a black and she was a slave in Davis Hall, she was waiting for freedom while blacks get unequal treatment. Finally she and other left Davis Hall and start a new life. This book is very good, it let me understand history of USA.
Abigail
Apr 13, 2017 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: Fans of the Dear America series
I sometimes read the book I Thought My Soul Would Rise and Fly: The Diary of Patsy, a Freed Girl, Mars Bluff, South Carolina, 1865, and I have more than plenty of good and positive things to say about it. I think it’s very neat, as well as very well-written, too. :)

From my perspective, I like the entry titled Friday, April 21, 1865. In it, Patsy begins her diary by first calling it “little book” and explaining her fear that Mistress Davis will whip her and take away the book if she catches her
...more
Beverly
Feb 21, 2014 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Patsy is another slave who has learned to read. Patsy is a stutterer and thought mentally deficient, but she is fluent when reading. The War is over, but slaves on Davis Plantation work like they always did.

Reconstruction has begun and the War Dept. has established the Freedman's Bureau to help break the chains of slavery. They visit plantations with slaves and tell masters that they now have to pay their slaves in cash or land, as well as feed, clothe, and house them. They have partnered up wit
...more
Mary JL
Nov 12, 2010 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: Anyone/good for children age 9 on up
Recommended to Mary JL by: I am familiar with the series
Patsy has been freed by the Civil War but life remains much the same on the plantation where she lives. Patsy has taught hereself to read and write (formal teaching of slaves was illegal) and she is writing down the story of her life.

Because she is shy and stammers when excited, most people around her think she is stupid. But Patsy starts to gain confidence as she can now teach the children their letters and to write simple words. When one of the older women complements her, she surprises hersel
...more
Ashley
I don't remember tons from this book, but I know I really liked it. I read it during my Dear America phase, and although nothing much from any of the actual stories stuck with my, this title, more than many others stands out as one I really enjoyed. I wish I remembered more from it. I'll probably reread it sometime soon...
Drucilla
Nov 24, 2014 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: dear-america
I think that this book is absolutely deserving of its Coretta Scott King Honor. I really liked the way the author contrasted Patsy's stammering and her writing and it was nice to read about the months following the end of the Civil War. It was interesting seeing how nobody had really been prepared for the end of slavery, not even the government.
 Alysha Mae : )
This was the first Dear America series book I read. i was so amazed and at times horrified at the thought of how slaved lives went, how they got through each day. I know that this book isn't true it was just based on facts, but either way I was touched by this book.
Sarah Greene
Aug 20, 2012 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
This is my favorite Dear America book. I love this series, and I relate to Patsy most of all. She has a stammer, and is always overlooked and spoken for, as I sometimes am with my own stutter. It holds her back from a lot of things she wants to say and do. This book really gives me hope.
Sarah
Feb 18, 2020 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
This is the diary of Patsy, a slave working for the Davis family and Davis Hall, a cotton plantation. Patsy is a girl who walks with a severe limp due to one leg being much shorter than the other. She has a terrible stutter so it takes her forever to get out a thought or question, resulting in everyone thinking she's a dunce. So much so, that when the Davis children were younger, they used to have her play school with them, using her a the dunce student in contrast to the brother, who played the ...more
Nicole
Jul 09, 2019 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
This review is for parents/teachers/students considering reading this book to a 6 or 7 year old.

I have a 6-almost-7-year old who is homeschooled and I've slowly introduced the concept of slavery/racism through some basic facts of American history, and through picture books like The Other Side and Ron's Big Mission. I would highly recommend this book for a child a year or two older, unless you have a child that is especially interested in slavery/racism, or the Dear America series. The story doe
...more
Kristi
Feb 24, 2019 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
"I Thought My Soul Would Rise and Fly," the fictional diary of "Patsy: - a young woman emancipated from slavery at the end of the American Civil War - is a valuable edition in the "Dear America" series. This book deals with the historical realities of compromised freedom for African-Americans throughout the transitional Reconstruction period. The entanglements of slavery did not simply end with the war. Threats of violence, disenfranchisement, and "black code" laws, and economic dependence creat ...more
Elizabeth
Apr 03, 2020 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Historical fiction is such a tricky genre to write. Of course, fiction allows you the ability to create a world and characters of your own...but when set in a certain time period, that world and those characters have to be created with certain specifics in mind. Anyone can write historical fiction, but it takes someone talented to do it well, and I think Ms. Hansen did just that! When we think of the time of slavery, we often think two things- it was a long time ago, and it ended after the emanc ...more
San Frazier
Oct 14, 2017 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Omg!! My friends thought I was crazy when all I talked about was Patsy. They also like to hear me say Patsy. This was such a beautiful story and my heart was all over the place reading it. We are currently passing Patsy around cause everybody wants to read her. I started reading the Dear America books because I work with kids and we focus on literacy. We had so many kids that just did not really like the diction stuff so we had to figure out ways for them read different things while honouring th ...more
Kristal
One of the best Dear America books I’ve read. This one is about a young black girl during the reconstruction period. She still lives on her master’s plantation, and everyone thinks she’s stupid because she has a stammer. However, she has learned to read and write and keeps a diary and is far from stupid.

The diary covers a little less than a year. It discusses how former slaves were still doing the same tasks as they did before, how prejudice and obstacles were still very prevalent for them, and
...more
Anna Cavallo
Sep 21, 2020 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
I remember trying to read this book in elementary school. Dear America books were a hot commodity and it was difficult to get a hold of one in the school library and so I was excited to discover this book, which was "new" to me because no one in my class had read this one. However, I ultimately abandoned it because I really had no idea what was going on. California schools teach absolutely nothing about the Reconstruction era. Not to mention, this book is very introspective and focuses on Patsy' ...more
Laura Black
A good story about the end of the Civil War for one young African American girl named Patsy. She secretly knows how to read and write but had to keep this a secret because it was illegal for slaves to know how to do these things. She badly wants a school for her community so that the now freed slave children can know the same joy of knowing how to read that she has. Sadly, her former master does not seem interested in bringing a school to his former plantation. Overall this is a gritty story and ...more
LobsterQuadrille
Dec 05, 2019 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: fans who want to complete the series
I remembered very little of this particular book, and after re-reading it I sort of see why. Patsy is an interesting character to follow, and it was a good choice to write about this overlooked time period right after the slaves were finally declared free, but the actual story is not very memorable. There is a lot of repetition and it is very slow-moving. I kept thinking back to A Picture of Freedom and how that book had some similar but more interesting characters. It was neat to learn where t ...more
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Joyce Hansen has been writing books and stories for children and young adults for over twenty years. Joyce was born and raised in New York City, the setting of her early contemporary novels. She grew up with two younger brothers and her parents in an extended family that included aunts, uncles, cousins and grandparents, all living nearby in the Morrisania section of the Bronx.

Attending Bronx publi
...more

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Dear America (1 - 10 of 45 books)
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  • When Will This Cruel War Be Over?: The Civil War Diary of Emma Simpson, Gordonsville, Virginia, 1864 (Dear America)
  • A Picture of Freedom: The Diary of Clotee, a Slave Girl, Belmont Plantation, Virginia 1859 (Dear America)
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