Rutgers University Project on Economics and Children

EconKids Home Older Children and Young Adults: 2009 Black Angels / by Linda Beatrice Brown

Black Angels / by Linda Beatrice Brown


Title:  Black Angels
Author:  Linda Beatrice Brown
Publisher:  G.P. Putnam's Sons
ISBN:  978-0-399-25030-9
Year:  2009

Concepts: scarcity, slavery, discrimination

Review:  Three children, each with their own harrowing stories of pain and loss, find each other in the woods in the midst of Civil War terror.  Luke, just eleven years old, is a run-away slave determined to head North in search of freedom. Daylily, two years younger, has just witnessed a brutal set of murders and is paralyzed with fear and shock.  Little Caswell, the only white child in the group, lost his mother in the panic of an attack by Yankee soldiers and is desperately confused about where to go. 

As the oldest and equipped with a gun, Luke quickly takes on the role of leader and caregiver as he guides the other two through the woods in search of food, water, and shelter.  As they struggle to overcome incredible danger, sickness, and hunger, they learn to love and trust not only each other, but also two women who serendipitously take on guardian roles in their journey to freedom and safety.

Black Angels provides an eye-opening account of some of the traumatic aspects of slavery, the Civil War, and the post-war treatment of African Americans, as well as a story of how love and support help three children to navigate this trauma and grow stronger.  Added to the mix are important lessons in economics related to scarcity, discrimination, and the institution of slavery.  Some of the violent scenes make this book more appropriate for older children and young adults, who will undoubtedly walk away with a deeper understanding of the Civil War era and a stronger appreciation for social justice.

Review by:  Rutgers University Project on Economics and Children

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