Seven Miles to Freedom: The Robert Smalls Story
By Janet Halfmann
Illustrated by Duane Smith
Growing up a slave in South Carolina, Robert Smalls always dreamed of the moment freedom would be within his grasp. Now that moment was here.
Robert stood proudly at the Planter’s wheel. Only seven miles of water lay between the ship and the chance of freedom in Union territory. With precision and amazing courage, he navigated past the Confederate forts in the harbor and steered the ship toward the safety of the Union fleet. Just one miscalculation would be deadly, but for Robert, his family, and his crewmates, the risk was worth taking.
Seven Miles to Freedom is the compelling account of the daring escape of Robert Smalls, a slave steamboat wheelman who became one of the Civil War’s greatest heroes. His steadfast courage in the face of adversity is an inspiring model for all who attempt to overcome seemingly insurmountable challenges.
Explore a reading guide and learning activities for Seven Miles to Freedom from OurStory, a website created by the Smithsonian's National Museum of American History to encourage adults and children in grades K–4 to read historical fiction and biography together.
Check out how to pair the nonfiction picture book and news article for grades 3–7.
About the Creators
is the author of more than forty books for children, including several nonfiction and natural science titles. When she’s not writing, Halfmann enjoys working in the garden, exploring nature, visiting new places, especially wildlife areas and living-history museums, and watching movies. Halfmann lives with her husband in South Milwaukee, Wisconsin. Visit Janet Halfmann on the Web at janethalfmann.com
is an artist, illustrator, and graphic designer with a degree from Pratt Institute in New York City and a Masters in Illustration from the Fashion Institute of Technology. His wide-ranging works have been featured in periodicals, books, movie storyboards, and galleries. As an art instructor for Pratt's Summer Design Program, Smith inspires children to think conceptually and independently. He also works in graphic design and interactive media development, and splits his time between homes in Brooklyn and Albany, New York. This is his first picture book. Visit him online at http://wwwdsmithillustrationcom.blogspot.com
About This Title
Beehive Book Awards Nominee
Children's Literature Association of Utah
The Bloomsbury Review
Honor Book Award
Society of School Librarians International
Land of Enchantment Book Award Masterlist
New Mexico Library Associaation
Reading Circle Recommended Title
Missouri State Teachers Association
Interest Level:Grades 1 - 6
Reading Level:Grades 4 - College
Nonfiction, War, United States History, Slavery, Responsibility, Overcoming Obstacles, Occupations, Heroism, African/African American Interest, Biography/Memoir, Poverty
Part of These Collections
African American English Collection Middle School, Biography and Memoir Middle School, English Guided Reading Level S, Fluent Dual Language , Fluent English, Biography and Memoir Grades 3-6, Appendix B Diverse Collection Grades 3-6, Nonfiction Grades 3-6, Martin Luther King Jr./Civil Rights Collection, High-Low Books for Preteens (Grades 4-6), High-Low Books for Teens (Middle and High School), African American English Collection Grades 3-6, Responsibility/Leadership, Persistence and Determination Collection, Courage and Bravery Collection, Social Activism Collection, Social Activism Collection Grades 3-5