Chains is the first book in Laurie Halse Anderson’s “Seeds of America” series though it works quite well as a stand-alone read too. The story begins in New England in the late 1700s when slavery was still legal through all of the English colonies though it was losing favor. Isabel and her little sister have been promised their freedom by their owner but after her death her nephew quickly disposes of the paperwork and sells them to a husband and wife who live in New York city and who are loyal to the English king. Isabel is a very industrious and clever character but for the most part she is trapped by societal rules for African Americans. Still one path of resistance presents itself – she can become a spy for the American revolutionaries. Isabel’s life makes an excellent lens to explore both slavery and the early years on the American revolution.

We look forward to hosting Laurie Halse Anderson at our school December 2019. She has written many excellent books for teens as well as this Middle Grade historical series.