"Before I die, I want to be free.
But the Big Man says, "You belong to me."
That's how the story "I Want to Be Free" by Joseph Slate starts. My heart feels uneasy as I start reading this book because I know that this story, although fictional, is part of our history in the USA. It happened. It did and we can't change it now, but we can definitely avoid making those same mistake twice. How many men during slavery dreamed of being free, of making their own decisions, of watching after their own families? How many tried to escape and couldn't? How many people dreamed of the day to be free but that day never really came? Many people indeed.
I Want to Be Free tells the story of a slave who escapes from a plantation with an iron ring attached and locked in his ankle. As he is escaping he runs into an orphaned slave child whose lost life he decides to saves. In this way, he is not only escaping for himself but also for the child's life. This child ends up being and representing so much more than " an orphaned child" but turned out to be his rescuer.
Moving text and illustrations make this books stand out right away. This story is a vivid example of a story that does not need too many words to convey its powerful meaning.