by Laurie Halse Anderson
October 2008 • Simon & Schuster Books for Young Readers • Middle-grade fiction
Story behind the story: About the inspiration for Chains, Anderson says: "A decade ago, while researching Fever 1793, I came across facts that shocked me: that Benjamin Franklin owned slaves, that twenty percent of New York City in 1776 was in bondage, and that the Revolution was not fought for the freedom of all Americans. These surprises led me to a deep investigation of our history . . . . Slavery affects all Americans, regardless of ethnic background, or how long our families have lived here. Slavery is the elephant in our country’s living room. It won’t go away until we acknowledge, understand, and deal with it. I hope Isabel’s story will help young readers break free of the chains of ignorance and misunderstanding. Maybe they will be strong enough to move our country forward to empathy and healing, and finally allow America to fulfill the dream of liberty and justice for all."
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