(1 customer review)


Does slavery exist in England? Could it be that Nathaniel is in luck when charged with caring for pineapples en route to that country? After all, as he grieves separation from his mother and sister, he recalls his mother’s words about the promise ahead. He holds them close…

However, aboard ship, Nathaniel learns about the slave ship ‘Zong‘. What’s more, he is inflamed by his drive for ‘Freedom‘.

Catherine Johnson has created a moving, strong story around Nathaniel, through which readers encounter real incidents and people from a shameful age that resonates with us still.

Winner of the Little Rebels Award

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Catherine Johnson


Freedom is Nathaniel’s purpose. Something dies in him when his mother and baby sister are sold by his slave owners. Mr Thomas warns him that running away will only result in beating or maiming. Perhaps a journey to England with their slave master will be Nathaniel’s opportunity? After all, hasn’t Nathaniel’s mother promised that England is a place of safety and opportunity? Might this be a chance, after all?
Then again, hearing about Zong massacre, a slave ship horror, Nathaniel realises the truth about England. It seems this place will not be the land of ‘freedom’ he’d pinned his hopes upon. In fact, slavery thrives. Thereafter, how can Nathaniel free himself of the Barrett family? Will the world continue to treat people unequally, and deny truths? Or might such a weight of cruelty, indifference and unfairness prove a spur to Nathaniel that he might break free? It seems we long this with all our hearts!
Catherine Johnson has built a strong story around a young boy caught in the lies, cruelty and excesses of the slave trade. Readers are drawn into Nathaniel’s need for Freedom, while learning about real historical figures and incidents. ‘Freedom‘ is urgent and necessary reading. Bookwagon is proud to recommend this title.


1 review for Freedom

  1. Paula Hale (verified owner)

    This is an essential read and I strongly recommend it. It tells the story of Nathanial and his hopes for a better life in England…he then finds out the harsh truth and reality. It’s short length and reader friendly format also means it is much easier to access – especially for my pupils.

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