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Stolen into Slavery: The True Story of Solomon Northup, Free Black Man

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The true story behind the acclaimed movie 12 Years a Slave, this book is based on the life of Solomon Northup, a free black man from New York who was captured in the United States and sold into slavery in Louisiana.   Solomon Northup awoke in the middle of the night with his body trembling. Slowly, he realized that he was handcuffed in a dark room and his feet were chained The true story behind the acclaimed movie 12 Years a Slave, this book is based on the life of Solomon Northup, a free black man from New York who was captured in the United States and sold into slavery in Louisiana.   Solomon Northup awoke in the middle of the night with his body trembling. Slowly, he realized that he was handcuffed in a dark room and his feet were chained to the floor. He managed to slip his hand into his pocket to look for his free papers that proved he was one of 400,000 free blacks in a nation where 2.5 million other African Americans were slaves. They were gone.   This remarkable story follows Northup through his 12 years of bondage as a man kidnapped into slavery, enduring the hardships of slave life in Louisiana. But the tale also has a remarkable ending. Northup is rescued from his master's cotton plantation in the deep South by friends in New York. This is a compelling tale that looks into a little known slice of history, sure to rivet young readers and adults alike. National Geographic supports K-12 educators with ELA Common Core Resources. Visit www.natgeoed.org/commoncore for more information.


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The true story behind the acclaimed movie 12 Years a Slave, this book is based on the life of Solomon Northup, a free black man from New York who was captured in the United States and sold into slavery in Louisiana.   Solomon Northup awoke in the middle of the night with his body trembling. Slowly, he realized that he was handcuffed in a dark room and his feet were chained The true story behind the acclaimed movie 12 Years a Slave, this book is based on the life of Solomon Northup, a free black man from New York who was captured in the United States and sold into slavery in Louisiana.   Solomon Northup awoke in the middle of the night with his body trembling. Slowly, he realized that he was handcuffed in a dark room and his feet were chained to the floor. He managed to slip his hand into his pocket to look for his free papers that proved he was one of 400,000 free blacks in a nation where 2.5 million other African Americans were slaves. They were gone.   This remarkable story follows Northup through his 12 years of bondage as a man kidnapped into slavery, enduring the hardships of slave life in Louisiana. But the tale also has a remarkable ending. Northup is rescued from his master's cotton plantation in the deep South by friends in New York. This is a compelling tale that looks into a little known slice of history, sure to rivet young readers and adults alike. National Geographic supports K-12 educators with ELA Common Core Resources. Visit www.natgeoed.org/commoncore for more information.

30 review for Stolen into Slavery: The True Story of Solomon Northup, Free Black Man

  1. 4 out of 5

    ConfusedKyra

    This book was super inspiring! I do think that it felt really blotchy. It seemed like it rushed through important parts. It skipped parts as well and I got confused. But the story was beautiful and I really love how they had pictures because honestly, they help me understand things better! Recommend to people who want a heartwarming/heartbreaking story! :)

  2. 4 out of 5

    Madison.02

    Stolen into slavery made me feel really sad, and with this book, you realize how bad the conditions were. Along with the things we learned in social studies, it still taught us things that made us think more from the perspective of them. Although, if I could have changed anything it would have been the length of the book so we would have found out more about where he went instead of him disappearing.

  3. 5 out of 5

    Naomi Oyegue

    I CAN'T IMAGINE BEING A SLAVE, NEITHER CAN I BELIEVE BEING FREE AND I WANT TO PROVIDE FOR MY FAMILY AND I WAS TRICKED AND SOLED THIS SHOWS THAT YOU CAN NEVER TRUST ANYONE BUT I AM GLAD THAT AT THE END HE WAS A FREE BLACK MAN AGAIN I CAN'T IMAGINE BEING A SLAVE, NEITHER CAN I BELIEVE BEING FREE AND I WANT TO PROVIDE FOR MY FAMILY AND I WAS TRICKED AND SOLED THIS SHOWS THAT YOU CAN NEVER TRUST ANYONE BUT I AM GLAD THAT AT THE END HE WAS A FREE BLACK MAN AGAIN

  4. 5 out of 5

    Elise S.

    This book was a pretty good book about slavery, there was a lot of stuff that went on over the course of this book. Stolen into slavery takes you on a journey of freedom and shows how bad slavery really was. It shows a perspective of life as a slave. The book offers insight into not only the bad things that the people encountered but also the goodness of some of those he had encountered. I recommend this book to anybody who likes books about slavery, and fairly fast books.

  5. 5 out of 5

    Amanda M

    This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here. This book was amazing. I knew that back then free African Americans were kidnapped and sold into slavery, but I did not know that it happened so often. Solomon Northup starts out as a free man looking for a job, then two men offer him a job. They travel far and then one night they go into a tavern and the two men put a very strong drug in his drink to make him even more dazed. The next morning he wakes up in a man's slave pen. This man is goes by the name of James Birch. Then Birch sold Solomon This book was amazing. I knew that back then free African Americans were kidnapped and sold into slavery, but I did not know that it happened so often. Solomon Northup starts out as a free man looking for a job, then two men offer him a job. They travel far and then one night they go into a tavern and the two men put a very strong drug in his drink to make him even more dazed. The next morning he wakes up in a man's slave pen. This man is goes by the name of James Birch. Then Birch sold Solomon to Theophilus Freeman. Freeman put Solomon on a boat bound for New Orleans, Louisiana. There Solomon was sold to William Ford. Ford owes money to a carpenter, Tibaut, who did some work for him. Ford owed Tibaut six hundred dollars. Ford told Tibaut of Solomon's a thousand dollar worth, so Ford said that Tibaut had sixty percent ownership of Solomon, to pay off the six hundred dollars. Tibaut irrationally was going to beat Solomon, but Solomon tackled Tibaut and started to beat him. After that Tibaut tried so many times to kill him. Eventually Solomon was sold to Edwin Epps. Epps got Solomon a fiddle to play with at parties and celebrations. Samuel Bass did some work for Epps and Solomon helped Bass with his task. During that time Bass and Solomon became friends and Bass wrote letters to people that could come and free Solomon. They waited several months, but no letters were received. The letters did not get to the people for at least a month. The people eventually got the letters and started their search for Solomon. Solomon's uncle, Henry, found out that Bass helped Solomon and found Bass and talked to him. After Bass trusted Henry and understood who he was then Bass told Henry where Solomon was, how to get to him and who his master was. After Solomon was safe again and free his uncle took him back home to his wife and kids. Through all of his slavery from the beginning to the end Solomon had been a slave for eleven years. He served eleven years as a slave when he was a free man.

  6. 4 out of 5

    Kelly Ketcham

    Fiction twin text- Henry's Freedom Box by Ellen Levine- 2007 Rationale- I chose this book as my twin text because both stories show the struggle of a man as a slave and their courage to find a better life. Both of these books are very inspiring and since each is focused on one main character I thought this was a great opportunity to compare the two characters situations. The picture book is very moving and I definitely think it would capture my students attention. I thought Henry's Freedom Box wo Fiction twin text- Henry's Freedom Box by Ellen Levine- 2007 Rationale- I chose this book as my twin text because both stories show the struggle of a man as a slave and their courage to find a better life. Both of these books are very inspiring and since each is focused on one main character I thought this was a great opportunity to compare the two characters situations. The picture book is very moving and I definitely think it would capture my students attention. I thought Henry's Freedom Box would be a great introduction into slavery before we got more vivid details from Stolen into Slavery. Text structure- chronological sequence Strategy application- I would use a Venn diagram to compare and contrast the similarities and differences between Henry and Solomon after we hair dad both books. I would encourage the students to think of character traits, the situations of the characters, or any other comparisons they might be able to find. (2012, April 1). School Library Journal. http://www.booksinprint2.com.leo.lib....#

  7. 5 out of 5

    Atticus GArcia

    The theme for Stolen into Slavery: The True Story of Solomon Northup, Free Black Man is to appreciate your freedom. This message can be portrayed when Solomon is being sold master to master and realizes how much harder it will be for his family to track him down to save him because each master changes his name. This theme is also shown when he is being forced to whip another slave, Patsey, and misses how much freedom he had as a free man. This is also shown when he comes to the sad realization t The theme for Stolen into Slavery: The True Story of Solomon Northup, Free Black Man is to appreciate your freedom. This message can be portrayed when Solomon is being sold master to master and realizes how much harder it will be for his family to track him down to save him because each master changes his name. This theme is also shown when he is being forced to whip another slave, Patsey, and misses how much freedom he had as a free man. This is also shown when he comes to the sad realization that if he says he is free that he would be whipped and that he should not tell people he once had his "free papers."

  8. 5 out of 5

    Alice

    This is the story of Solomon, a free black man living in upstate New York who is happily married and the father of three. He had never been a slave but he found himself in this absolutely awful situation where he was stolen and sold several times. In the story he tells of his experiences during those twelve years.

  9. 5 out of 5

    Makayla D

    I'm not going to lie, only picked this book up because I needed to fill my non-fiction spots but don't regret reading this. The book is generally about slavery but goes very into detail. I liked this book because when I was reading it I could picture what slaves went through. If you do not like graphic books then I would not read this. I recommend this book to anyone who wants to learn more about slavery because I definitely did. I'm not going to lie, only picked this book up because I needed to fill my non-fiction spots but don't regret reading this. The book is generally about slavery but goes very into detail. I liked this book because when I was reading it I could picture what slaves went through. If you do not like graphic books then I would not read this. I recommend this book to anyone who wants to learn more about slavery because I definitely did.

  10. 5 out of 5

    Paola

    I really love how we are set in the perspective of the slave. We get to see details and dig in deeper in this hurtful event. We’ll never get to feel what they went through but this book gives us an insight to it. I hope that the people back then read this and completely changed their mindset on slavery. I love that he never gave up trying to be free even though more than 9 years have passed.

  11. 5 out of 5

    Jeramiah Paige

    This book to me was great yet controversial. Not too many authors write about the topic of slavery and the ending be great. I enjoyed the book because I think it told as much truth as it could. This book can spark discussions/conversations with young and older audiences. The book gave better detail than the movie in my opinion.

  12. 4 out of 5

    Kasey.9220

    I liked this book a lot because it gave me another point of view on slavery. We already learned a lot about the topic form social studies, but this book was so informative that I definitely feel like this book filled in the gaps. I rate this book almost perfectly. I loved the photos and notes they provided, and I loved the story itself, but I wish we would have gotten more information in the ending.

  13. 4 out of 5

    Kay Mcgriff

    I cannot imagine the horror of being born and living free and then being kidnapped and sold into slavery for twelve years, but that horrifying fate is just what Solomon Northup survived. Judith and Dennis Fradin recount Solomon's story in Stolen into Slavery: The True Story of Solomon Northup, Free Black Man (Scholastic 2012). Solomon Northup was born free in New York state in the early 1800s. He was educated and worked as a carpenter. He also played the violin. He married and had three children. I cannot imagine the horror of being born and living free and then being kidnapped and sold into slavery for twelve years, but that horrifying fate is just what Solomon Northup survived. Judith and Dennis Fradin recount Solomon's story in Stolen into Slavery: The True Story of Solomon Northup, Free Black Man (Scholastic 2012). Solomon Northup was born free in New York state in the early 1800s. He was educated and worked as a carpenter. He also played the violin. He married and had three children. Then in 1841 he was drugged, kidnapped, and sold into slavery. He spent the next twelve years on cotton plantations deep in the Louisiana swamps. His name had been changed, so it was nearly impossible for his family to discover what had happened to him. Since his kidnappers had stolen his money and the papers proving he was free, it was impossible foa him to prove his identity and regain his freedom. For twelve long years, Solomon looked for a chance to escape and return to his family. Even though it was illegal to kidnap and sell a free black, the guilty parties were never brought to justice even though they were known. Basing their research on Solomon's own account of his years of slavery and on other records including bills of sale and court documents, the Fradins bring Solomon's story to life in a gripping narrative. First published on my blog at http://kaymcgriff.edublogs.org

  14. 4 out of 5

    Susan

    I stumbled across this true story in a school book order form. When I ordered it I really had no expectations. I have trouble finding my fifth and sixth grade students nonfiction books that they really like. This one will be a hit. I thoroughly enjoyed the story of Solomon Northup, a free slave in the north, who was stolen and sold into slavery in the south. The story resounded as vvery believable. I in particular liked that mention was made that a lot of southerners believed in treating their s I stumbled across this true story in a school book order form. When I ordered it I really had no expectations. I have trouble finding my fifth and sixth grade students nonfiction books that they really like. This one will be a hit. I thoroughly enjoyed the story of Solomon Northup, a free slave in the north, who was stolen and sold into slavery in the south. The story resounded as vvery believable. I in particular liked that mention was made that a lot of southerners believed in treating their slaves well. The court system which tied to bring the kidnappers to trial were their own prisoner of the laws of the time. Even though Solomon had written a popular book about his experiences, he could not testify in a court of law. Therefore the kidnappers went free. It bothers me that several years after once being freed Solomon disappeared and leaves open to speculation as to exactly what could have happened to him. I had students lined up waiting for me to make this book available to them. I know they will learn a lot from it.

  15. 4 out of 5

    mg

    This was a great alternative narrative about a slave in the 1840s-1860s who was born a free man, then sold into slavery for 12 years. It is a short book (~100 pages) and moves fairly quickly due to short chapters. I would recommend this for middle grade elementary students, especially those who are reluctant to read nonfiction. However, I found at least 3 typos when reading the book. The shoddy editing made me question if all the facts were correct -though the authors explain in the beginning tha This was a great alternative narrative about a slave in the 1840s-1860s who was born a free man, then sold into slavery for 12 years. It is a short book (~100 pages) and moves fairly quickly due to short chapters. I would recommend this for middle grade elementary students, especially those who are reluctant to read nonfiction. However, I found at least 3 typos when reading the book. The shoddy editing made me question if all the facts were correct -though the authors explain in the beginning that they went to great lengths to research the subject of this book. Since they have co-authored "dozens" of books together, you would think they would have gotten an editor that was worth a hill o' commas by this point...

  16. 5 out of 5

    Jeff

    Wow! I never gave much thought to free black people being captured into slavery. This book is an engaging account of how an educated free black man, husband, and father was enslaved but held out hope of one day returning. The book really lets one see the injustices of slavery and made some of the history I learned in textbooks really come alive to show the horrors of slavery while also showing what those opposed to slavery would do to help people like Solomon. Makes me want to read his 1853 auto Wow! I never gave much thought to free black people being captured into slavery. This book is an engaging account of how an educated free black man, husband, and father was enslaved but held out hope of one day returning. The book really lets one see the injustices of slavery and made some of the history I learned in textbooks really come alive to show the horrors of slavery while also showing what those opposed to slavery would do to help people like Solomon. Makes me want to read his 1853 autobiography "12 years a slave"

  17. 4 out of 5

    Shaeley Santiago

    An interesting story about a free black from New York state who was kidnapped and sold into slavery in Louisiana for 12 years. After he was finally freed, he wrote a detailed account of his story which is the basis for this book.

  18. 5 out of 5

    Timothy D

    I think that this book was inspiring. It teaches you to never give up no matter what happens to you. It is about Solomon Northup who was a free black man from New York who was tricked to go into the South and found himself a sold into slavery, but he never gave up until he was finally set free.

  19. 5 out of 5

    Sue

    Wow, except for the fact that the material contained in this story was so painful . . . I could say it was wonderful. Read it in one sitting; really could not put it down. Easy-to-read short story.

  20. 5 out of 5

    Dotty

    The depravity of humankind continues to dismay me. A riveting nonfiction read.

  21. 4 out of 5

    The Reading Countess

    Interesting and easy to understand story of Solomon Northrup's twelve years spent as a slave. Interesting and easy to understand story of Solomon Northrup's twelve years spent as a slave.

  22. 5 out of 5

    Carson Hamilton

    This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here. Review: This book is the best and it goes with school if you are learning about this stuff in school it is about a man named Solomon based on a true story and the time was when you could have slaves but Solomon had a free black family that had some kids and a wife and it was harder to find a job but his wife had found one and got paid for it but Solomon did not he was good at playing music but he did not use that for his job so he had one job one day and then had a different job the other day bu Review: This book is the best and it goes with school if you are learning about this stuff in school it is about a man named Solomon based on a true story and the time was when you could have slaves but Solomon had a free black family that had some kids and a wife and it was harder to find a job but his wife had found one and got paid for it but Solomon did not he was good at playing music but he did not use that for his job so he had one job one day and then had a different job the other day but one day two men saw Solomon and tricked him into being a slave it all started by playing music for the two men that would sell tickets and do cricut stuff and said that they are going to meet the main circuit people later and Solomon was fine with that because it sounded real but it was not then one night when they worked harder they went to the bare and the two men drugged Solomons drink and then solomon woke up in a slave hold and later on in the book he has been in fights with his masters and the masters wanted to kill him but he did not because he was worth a lot of money so he sold Solomon to a new master his family was the Epps. Epp the new master had a kid and a wife the kid was like his dad with the slaves and started to whip them and torture them but Epp was a man who drunk all day and all night and he had a lot of moods when he was drunk like a dancing mood a mad mood and so forth but his favorite mood was the dancing mood and made all his slaves dance with him except solomon because he was the one that was making the song because he was good at that he was so good at it he got to make money for it and keep the money. Then later on in the book still with the same master Epp was very rich and made a new house so he hired some men to make it but solomon could make houses to so he had to join them but there was this one man named Bass and bass did not like how they could own slaves and no one liked bass just for that but he was not that man that made speeches about it when ever someone was talking to him he would talk about the slave thing and bass was the best person to solomon because he was forced to be here he was a free man but he got kidnapped into slavery so Bass helped him get out of slavery and wrote letters to solomon's family and saying that he is still alive and he has been kidnapped into slavery and where solomon's family lived that was a law that if you are free and kidnapped into a slave people would come to the person's door that had that slave and make the slave into a freeman like solomon s solomon was a free man and did not have to run away. I rated this book a 5 because it was a good book and I could connect it with school because we are learning about slavery and other stories in school.

  23. 4 out of 5

    JustAnotherFangirl

    We had to read this book in Middle School for our Civil War and Reconstruction units in LA and History. I found the book to be slightly lacking only because I read the original text: Twelve Years a Slave, last year. I did think this is a good version for middle-schoolers, many of whom may not understand the complex language or harshness of the original text. Still a great book with a thought-provoking storyline. I would recommend this book to anyone under the age of 14. If you are 15 years or ol We had to read this book in Middle School for our Civil War and Reconstruction units in LA and History. I found the book to be slightly lacking only because I read the original text: Twelve Years a Slave, last year. I did think this is a good version for middle-schoolers, many of whom may not understand the complex language or harshness of the original text. Still a great book with a thought-provoking storyline. I would recommend this book to anyone under the age of 14. If you are 15 years or older, I would really recommend the original, especially if you are using this as a reference for a historical paper/resource.

  24. 5 out of 5

    R

    Solomon Northup was kidnapped and enslaved for 12 years and this quick read provides details of his experience. Solomon Northup went on to write down his experiences that were then turned into a book much longer than this and eventually became the basis for the motion picture 12 Years a Slave. This will be added to the curriculum for Honor Students where I am student teaching. It should not prove difficult for students to complete and is compelling enough to encourage even reluctant readers with Solomon Northup was kidnapped and enslaved for 12 years and this quick read provides details of his experience. Solomon Northup went on to write down his experiences that were then turned into a book much longer than this and eventually became the basis for the motion picture 12 Years a Slave. This will be added to the curriculum for Honor Students where I am student teaching. It should not prove difficult for students to complete and is compelling enough to encourage even reluctant readers with a bit of motivation. The book is full of symbols, foreshadowing, and provide ample opportunity for compelling questions to guide student reading.

  25. 4 out of 5

    Victoria B.

    This book is a "kid's" version of Solomon Northup's "12 Years a Slave." I would say that based on content and language, this book would be better suited for 7th or 8th grade and up. The content was well-written (despite a few typos) - I was captivated by Northup's struggles, horrified by his circumstances, and sympathized with his determination to return home. I feel like it packed a lot of information into 111 pages, and I appreciated the visual materials that accompanied the text. I wish there This book is a "kid's" version of Solomon Northup's "12 Years a Slave." I would say that based on content and language, this book would be better suited for 7th or 8th grade and up. The content was well-written (despite a few typos) - I was captivated by Northup's struggles, horrified by his circumstances, and sympathized with his determination to return home. I feel like it packed a lot of information into 111 pages, and I appreciated the visual materials that accompanied the text. I wish there was more effort to discover what exactly happened to Northup after 1960, instead of just guesses or theories, but I suppose that can't be helped.

  26. 5 out of 5

    KC

    The true story of Solomon Northup, a free black man, getting kidnapped and sold into slavery. It's the young reader version of 12 Years a Slave. It was a fast read and I learned a lot. After being rescued he went to court 3 different times to convict all the people who sold him but none of them were convicted. One of the main reasons was because of the law that black people couldn't testify in court. The conditions of what he went through was horrible but this young adult version didn't go into The true story of Solomon Northup, a free black man, getting kidnapped and sold into slavery. It's the young reader version of 12 Years a Slave. It was a fast read and I learned a lot. After being rescued he went to court 3 different times to convict all the people who sold him but none of them were convicted. One of the main reasons was because of the law that black people couldn't testify in court. The conditions of what he went through was horrible but this young adult version didn't go into too much detail.

  27. 5 out of 5

    Jordan

    4.5 rating I really enjoy the story of Solomon Northup and the reality of the situation that he was in and that was common during that time period. I first heard of him in my senior English class when we watched 12 years a slave. I was very excited to read his story. However, I feel that this story isn't appropriate for the reading level this is aimed at. I feel that if it was written for an older audience it would be more popular and could have more information within it. 4.5 rating I really enjoy the story of Solomon Northup and the reality of the situation that he was in and that was common during that time period. I first heard of him in my senior English class when we watched 12 years a slave. I was very excited to read his story. However, I feel that this story isn't appropriate for the reading level this is aimed at. I feel that if it was written for an older audience it would be more popular and could have more information within it.

  28. 4 out of 5

    Nyemah Parker

    This book was by far one of my favorite books because it talked about slavery in a way that I understood it. The book is about a man named Solomon Northup who is a free black man but then gets kidnapped into slavery. He spends 12 years as a slave until he is finally free. I would recommend this book to people who don't know much about slavery because the book shows a timeline about and detailed pictures of what happened. This book was by far one of my favorite books because it talked about slavery in a way that I understood it. The book is about a man named Solomon Northup who is a free black man but then gets kidnapped into slavery. He spends 12 years as a slave until he is finally free. I would recommend this book to people who don't know much about slavery because the book shows a timeline about and detailed pictures of what happened.

  29. 4 out of 5

    Abbeyw:)Turtlelover

    This book was really good it kept you wanting to read more. when Solomon went into slavery you kept thinking oh he is going to escape but then he doesn't, also you tend to ask yourself a lot of questions when you are reading this book, I still can't believe a free man was a slave for twelve years. I would recommend this book to anyone who likes books about how hard slavery was because this book really shows it. This book was really good it kept you wanting to read more. when Solomon went into slavery you kept thinking oh he is going to escape but then he doesn't, also you tend to ask yourself a lot of questions when you are reading this book, I still can't believe a free man was a slave for twelve years. I would recommend this book to anyone who likes books about how hard slavery was because this book really shows it.

  30. 4 out of 5

    Alexis Ramirez

    In this book, readers are introduced to a free African-American who lives in NY. He was kidnapped and sold into slavery for 12 years in the south. This book includes primary sources and dialogue from his memoir and provides riveting details about his experience in slavery. This book is great for young readers because discussing slavery is something we do throughout every year of school. We want our students to be able to identify a primary source and be able to recognize the writer's voice. In this book, readers are introduced to a free African-American who lives in NY. He was kidnapped and sold into slavery for 12 years in the south. This book includes primary sources and dialogue from his memoir and provides riveting details about his experience in slavery. This book is great for young readers because discussing slavery is something we do throughout every year of school. We want our students to be able to identify a primary source and be able to recognize the writer's voice.

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