Escape Across the Wide Sea

wide sea book coverEscape Across the Wide Sea

Holiday House
Ages 8-12

Lamplighter Award finalist

“Gr. 5-8—In 1686, nine-year-old Daniel Bonnet’s Huguenot family makes a desperate attempt to escape persecution in France. They board a ship that they believe will transport them to England. Instead, they have embarked on a three-year journey that takes them first to Africa, where the vessel takes on a cargo of slaves. Daniel’s leg wound from a French soldier’s bayonet renders him handicapped, yet he performs chores that lead him into the ship’s hold, where he meets Seynabou, a girl kidnapped into slavery. In Guadeloupe, he manages to bring her to the attention of a sugar plantation owner, who buys her. But even here, French colonial soldiers arrest Huguenots, and families and their slaves leave for New York, where they earn money to buy land and establish a community in New Rochelle. Kirkpatrick creates a strong sense of place, and the plot successfully comes full circle as the Bonnets return to their original trade as weavers. Full-page illustrations are scattered throughout. Back matter includes a pronunciation guide and glossary in English and French as well as a historical note that includes a passage about the real Daniel Bonnet. This strong historical novel presents a realistic account of slavery, religious intolerance, and French immigration in colonial times.”—Jean Gaffney, School Library Journal