The Bell Rang by James E. Ransome

Published by Aladdin

Image result for bell rang ransome amazon

Image result for bell rang ransome amazon

Summary:  On each page, the bell rings, and the narrator’s family gets ready for another day of working in the plantation fields.  Her father gathers wood, her mother cooks, and her older brother Ben offers her a pat on the shoulder, a wave, and one day, a new doll that he’s made.  It turns out to be a farewell gift, because the next day Ben and two other boys are gone. The other two are caught two days later, but Ben never returns.  Did he make it to freedom, or die along the way? The family has no way of knowing, and the last page shows the girl looking at the bell, with a look that suggests she may be thinking of escape as well.  An author’s note tells how so many stories of enslaved people running away focus on the escape and not on the ones left behind. 40 pages; grades 1-6.

Pros:  This simple but haunting story, taking place over the course of a week, gives a different and thought-provoking perspective on slavery.

Cons:  While most reviewers recommend this for ages 4-8, it might be appreciated more by kids in upper elementary grades.

If you would like to buy this book on Amazon, click here.

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