Slave Dancer 1974 Medal Winner ***

The Slave Dancer tells the story of Jessie who is kidnapped in New Orleans because he can play a fife. He discovers that his talent is used to "dance the slaves" to keep their muscles strong for when they are sold. Jessie sees first hand the horrors of the slave trade industry and wonders if there is anything he can do to personally stop the practice.

The Slave Dancer is a compelling story, but in my opinion too graphic for children. I think it's important that we learn the horrors of slave ships, but at not too young of an age. There are some very violent and graphic scenes that describe death of both crewmen and slaves alike. I appreciated the authors obvious research and telling this story through the eyes of a young adult who didn't want to be there.

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