Library Intern Book Reviews

Review of <i>I Want to Be Free</i> by Joseph Slate

Review of I Want to Be Free by Joseph Slate


G.P. Putnam's Sons


New York, New York, United States of America

Date of Publication




Date of Review



Library and Information Science | Modern Literature


Children's literature, reviews


This book was a rhythmic tear-jerker. The story is a poem written about one man’s run for freedom. The story is set in the south and narrates his journey with a manacle around one ankle and his adoption of a little boy along the way. At the end of their journey, the boy touches the manacle, and it falls off symbolizing the man’s freedom. The author explains that the poem is actually taken from Buddha’s work about his disciple, Elephant Ananda. Joseph Slate changed the setting and language because he believes the theme of freedom is universal. The poem’s rhythmic tone echoes the songs from the slaves in the South. The illustrations are earthy, but mediocre. Nonetheless, the image of the manacle falling at the child’s touch is heart-rending and left me with tears in my eyes. The story is a great historical illustration of slavery even though its foundational tale is based in Eastern literature. The story is a heart-gripping piece of poetry and is a great introductory book for children to the concept of slavery. Optional Purchase. Reviewed by Michael Aho, Library Intern, Cedarville University, Cedarville, Ohio


Review of <i>I Want to Be Free</i> by Joseph Slate

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