Elisa Carbone is a full-time writer and a part-time windsurfer, rock climber, and lindy-hop dancer. She is the mother of two college-age children. She is also the author of Stealing Freedom, an ALA Best Book for Young Adults. From the Hardcover edition.
Carbone (Stealing Freedom) bases her inspiring and little-known tale on actual rescues made by seven courageous African-Americans during the late 1800s on Pea Island, on the Outer Banks of N.C. The island acted as the base for a division of the United States Life-Saving Service (precursor to the Coast Guard). Twelve-year-old narrator Nathan lives close to the station with his grandfather and widower father, both fishermen who often assist in the rescues. From the outset, Nathan outlines the cause of racial tension between the Pea Island crewmen and the nearby Oregon Inlet crewmen ("Grandpa says they have the same surnames because back before the war the granddaddies and great-granddaddies of the Oregon Inlet crew used to own the granddaddies and great-granddaddies of the Pea Island crew, and they shared their family names with their slaves") and sets the stage for several incidents that discourage the boy's dream of someday joining Pea Island's Life-Saving crew, the only such crew manned by African-Americans. Yet the determined boy pores over books he finds in the station's library, learning about rescue procedures and first aid, proves himself a competent helper in sea rescues and eventually finds his own calling. Though a surfeit of detail occasionally encumbers the story's pace and weakens its impact, Carbone includes some suspenseful descriptions of the rescue crew's feats, and the affecting passages between Nathan and his loving grandfather are the novel's greatest strength. Ages 10-up. (Jan.) Copyright 2000 Cahners Business Information.
Gr 5-9-It is 1895, and African-Americans Nathan Williams, his father, and grandfather are living on the beautiful and remote Outer Banks. The boy's mother has died, and the grieving youngster finds some solace in the welcoming atmosphere of the Pea Island Life-Saving Station. Members of the all-black lifesaving team, known as surfmen, encourage his curiosity and teach him the techniques of retrieving and resuscitating victims of ocean disasters. After Nathan and his father help with a hair-raising but successful rescue of crew members from a storm-wrecked ship, Nathan is determined to become a surfman himself someday, despite almost overwhelming obstacles. In the end, however, having memorized medical books and assisted with some injured men, he realizes his true calling is medicine. Based on the real-life exploits of Pea Island surfmen in the late 19th century, this is a beautifully told story, marked by convincing, distinctive characters and stirring descriptions of the surfmen's highly skilled and highly dangerous work. An author's note adds fascinating information about how the book came to be written.-Starr E. Smith, Fairfax County Public Library, VA Copyright 2001 Cahners Business Information.