Driven from his home by the Ku Klux Klan and still reeling from the death of his mother, Nathan moves with his father and grandfather to the desolate Pea Island on the Outer Banks of North Carolina to start a new life. Fortunately, life on Pea Island at the end of the 19th century is far from quiet. The other island residents include the surfmen--the African American crew of the nearby U.S. Life-Saving Station--and soon Nathan is lending an extra hand to these men as they rescue sailors from sinking ships. Working and learning alongside the courageous surfmen, Nathan begins to dream of becoming one himself. But the reality of post-Civil War racism starts to show itself as he gradually realizes the futility of his dream. And then another dream begins to take shape, one that Nathan refuses to let anyone take from him.BUY THE BOOK
Book Report, starred review
"An excellent example of a book based on factual accounts with an intriguing fictional story intertwined. A wonderful novel for young adults."
"Carbone does a good job of suggesting not only just the physical setting but also the boy's strong sense of self, family, and community as an African American child growing up in a place and time when racism limited his choices, if not his ambitions."
"[A] rousing tale of men against the sea."
"A thoughtfully crafted first-person narrative, the book combines historical figures with created characters in the best traditions of the historical novel. It moves rapidly through a series of exciting battles with the inexorable forces of nature in a progression of short, readable chapters. The descriptions of setting are remarkable, engrossing but never intrusive. The whole is an adventure that brings to life the realities of life for many black people after the Civil War."
School Library Journal
"...this is a beautifully told story, marked by convincing, distinctive characters and stirring descriptions of the surfmen's highly skilled and highly dangerous work. An author's note adds fascinating information about how the book came to be written."
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