Convicts and Slavery Booklist

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Movement of People: Slavery & Convicts in the Curriculum

The period of history covered in Year 9 of the Australian curriculum is from 1750 – 1918.

Booklists for this period are:

Australian history is usually covered in primary school but the other topics are not required subjects in primary school. However many children like to study this period of history in their early school years. To use these topics in your planning you can record them as part of your literature, geography and history studies.

Slavery & Its Abolition

Listen for the Whipporwill ( Trailblazer Series) – Dave Jackson

This is a wonderful story about Harriet Tubman one of the founders of the underground railroad – a movement to help slaves escape from the North to the South. Ages 8 —14 yrs

Meet Addie – (American Girl Series) – Connie Porter 
This is a delightful first chapter book. It is out of print but I highly recommend getting this second hand. Ages 7—17 yrs.

The Kidnapped Prince — Olaudah Equiano
An amazing true story of the author, an African prince, carried away to slavery in 1755. He tells about his travels as a slave through Africa and across the sea, and of the evils of slavery. Large print, adapted for children. Ages 8 – 14 yrs

William Wilberforce: Freedom Fighter- Betty Everett
Interesting account of the life of this giant of politics — how he almost single-handedly abolished slavery in England and her colonies without a single shot being fired. How he turned from a life of pleasure to politics because he believed God had a purpose for him to make a difference. Ages 8—17 yrs.

A Journey Through the Life of William Wilberforce – Keith Belmonte
This author was used as a consultant for the movie about the abolitionist movement in England – Amazing Grace Ages 10 — Adult yrs

A Slave Set Free – Irene Howat  (Trailblazer Series)
A novel about John Newton, writer of Amazing Grace, who was once a slave trader. Ages 8 —14 yrs

Amos Fortune, Free Man – Elizabeth Yates

A life-affirming biography of a slave in America who determined to do his best in every situation and refused to let bitterness rule him. A strong Christian, he brought help and hope to many, before and after he was freed, and left at his death a monetary legacy which still continues today. Ages 10 — 17 yrs

The Slave Who Freed Haiti: The Story of Toussaint L’Ouverture – Katherine Scherman
The story of “the black Napoleon” who led a revolution in Haiti to free the slaves.

slavery and convict books for kids

Australian Convict Stories

Can’t You Make Them Behave, King George? – Jean Fritz
The story of King George’s problems with the Americans at the time of the Battle for Independence, problems that led to using Australia as a convict prison. Ages 7 – 13 yrs.

Escape from Botany Bay – Gerald & Loretta Hausman.
The courageous true story of Mary Bryant a first fleet convict who escapes from Sydney in the early days of the penal settlement.

Tom Appleby Convict Boy – Jackie French
At the tender age of eight, chimney sweep Tom Appleby is convicted of stealing and sentenced to deportation to Botany Bay. As one of the members of the First Fleet, he arrives in a country that seemingly has little to offer – or little that the English are used to, anyway. This book has one a CBC book award.

My Story: Surviving Sydney Cove – Goldie Alexander
A fictional diary based on the story of the youngest convict in the First Fleet. Even though she actually spent most of her incarceration in Norfolk Island, this places her in Sydney. Ages 9 — 15 yrs

Margaret Catchpole by Nance Donkin (OOP)
The true story of Margaret Catchpole, a convict who arrived in Port Jackson on a transport ship called The Nile. Governor Macquarie came down to meet the ship and when he saw Margaret, he asked the captain about and her. He said she was a good person, neat and clean, and an excellent cook.The Governor decided to assign her as a cook for Mr Palmer and his wife. Margaret led an outstanding life and earns her freedom.

For the Term of His Natural Life by Marcus Clarke
Australian classic. First published in 1872. Brutal convict story set in the Tasmanian Penal colonies of 1830s. Ages 14 and up Online Version

For more Australian History and Stories see here.