Young Phillis began life in an African village as a curious and imaginative little Janxa. Then without warning Janxa gets captured by slavers and shipped to the New World with her father. She’s unable to fully comprehend the reasons for the inhumanity she witnesses on the journey. She soothes herself by clinging to the songs of the village storyteller.
On her arrival in the Colonies, she is sold to a wealthy Massachusetts family, the Wheatleys. A thin sickly child stricken with asthma, she is taught to read and write instead of cook and clean. In time, she is discovered to be an excellent student, writing exceptional poetry.
With the help of her mistress, Susanna Wheatley, she becomes an example that African slaves can learn, that they are more than chattel. That they indeed have souls, in need of a Savior.
Phyllis, as she is called upon her arrival in the Colonies, comes to take her faith and her role of being freedom’s pen seriously. Freedom’s Pen is very well written, but is perhaps too densely written for some younger children. The strong themes and terms may be more suitable for older children and teens.
Freedom’s Pen is the 8th book in Ms. Lawton’s Daughters of Faith series. The series, written for readers aged 9-12 years old, contains well-researched books on the girlhoods of notable women of faith like Harriet Tubman, Mary Bunyan (daughter of John Bunyan), and Pocahontas.
The Daughters of Faith series is an excellent resource for group study with both children and adults. They provide an window into the history and faith of our Christian mothers of old. This collection of books is certainly a rich gift to all ages.
Moody Publishers; $6.99; 144 page
Reviewed by Linda Hargrove