|In the Classroom
The historical setting, the very real characters, and the strong sense of story
make these novels by Carbone excellent choices for read-aloud or class novel
study. Please note that these books do not need to be discussed together. Each
title represents strong content that can be taught independent of one another,
but the themes in both are similar enough to conduct a dual book study.
Discussion questions related to the themes of courage, freedom, prejudice
and bigotry, and family offer students the opportunity to think about the tough
choices that African Americans faced in the 1800s during preñ and postñCivil
War times. This guide also offers activities that link the language arts, social
studies, science, music, and art curriculum.
Stealing Freedom is set before the Civil War, and Storm Warriors is
set postñCivil War in the late 1800s. Engage students in a discussion
regarding the treatment of African Americans during these times. Ask them to
make a split-screen collage that contrasts the way African Americans lived preñ and
postñCivil War. Encourage them to use photocopied pictures, writing, quotations,
etc. in their collages.
Freedom, Ann wonders, "which required more courage: to be a fugitive,
or to be the one to help the fugitive to safety." (p. 213) Engage the class
in a discussion about the courage it took for both parties.
Ask students to consider which required more courage in Storm Warriors:
to be the rescuer or the rescued? Nathan says, "I know it takes courage
to meet a storm head on. . . ." (p. 74, Storm Warriors) Compare and
contrast Ann and Nathanís courage. What is Annís "storm"?
students to explain what Annís father means when he says, "Anyone
born a slave gets their freedom stolen the day theyíre born." (p.
19, Stealing Freedom) What is the irony in the phrase "stealing freedom"?
When Ann is in hiding at Mr. Bigelowís house, she says, "How strange
it felt to be free and yet to be a prisoner." (p. 163, Stealing Freedom)
Compare Annís feeling to Nathanís in Storm Warriors.
What is Nathanís prison? Figuratively, how does Nathan have to steal his
and Bigotry --Stealing Freedom is set preñCivil War when
mistreatment of African Americans was overt, whereas Storm Warriors is
set postñCivil War when racial prejudice was present but less obvious.
How might Nathanís Grandpa identify with the bigotry that Ann feels in Stealing
Have the class read the "Authorís Note" at the end of Storm
Warriors. How did racial prejudice and bigotry contribute to the fact that
the keeper and the crew of the Pea Island Life-Saving Station werenít
honored with the Gold Life-Saving Medal until 100 years later?
students to discuss how the Weems family in Stealing Freedom has a stronger
sense of family than the Price family. Define the term "extended family." How
do the people involved with the Underground Railroad become a surrogate family
to Ann? Describe Nathanís family in Storm Warriors. Discuss how
the surfmen on Pea Island might be considered an extended family for Nathan.
Arts--In preñCivil War days, it was against the law to
teach a slave to read. Ann learns to read when she tends to Sarah, a relative
of Master Charles and Mistress Carol. Read Nightjohn or Sarny:
A Life Remembered by Gary Paulsen. Write a letter that Ann might write to
Nightjohn or Sarny commending them for their work in teaching African Americans
In Storm Warriors, Nathan feels extremely close to his grandfather.
He listens to his grandfatherís stories and wishes that his grandfatherís
dreams could have been fulfilled. Ask students to assume the role of Nathan and
write a tribute to be read at his grandfatherís funeral.
Studies--In Stealing Freedom, Ann travels by the Underground Railroad
to Canada. Have students construct a map of Eastern United States and indicate
the major routes of the Underground Railroad. Using clues from the novel, plot
the route that Ann Weems possibly traveled.
The United States Life-Saving Service later became the United States Coast
Guard. Ask students to research the history of the Coast Guard. Then have them
develop a timeline of the work of the United States Coast Guardófrom its
birth on August 4, 1790, to the present.
Weems loves to sing. Ask students to locate and learn some of the African American
work songs and spirituals that Ann may have sung. Also have students find seafaring
songs that Nathan may have enjoyed in Storm Warriors.
States postage stamps often honor outstanding and courageous Americans. Have
students find pictures of postage stamps that have honored African Americans.
Then have them design a stamp that honors the Pea Island Life-Saving crew.
men at the Pea Island Life-Saving Station in Storm Warriors communicate
using Morse code. Ask students to research Samuel Morse. How might Morse code
be considered an early life-saving device? What signals and codes do ships and
life-saving stations use today?
In Storm Warriors, Nathan takes books from the Life-Saving Station
and learns about medical treatments that might be necessary in rescue missions.
Have students research the type of first-aid materials that might have been available
in the late 1890s. Then have them construct a first-aid kit that might be used
in rescue missions today. How have first-aid measures changed in the past 100
Vocabulary/Use of Language
Ask students to record unfamiliar words and try to define the words using clues
from the context of the story. In Stealing Freedom, such words may include ferreting (p.
44), lecherous (p. 45), mulatto (p. 73), guano (p. 76), apparition (p.
97), placid (p.113), exorbitant (p. 158), and daguerreotype (p.
In Storm Warriors, such words may include phantom (p. 15), vermilion (p.
18), resuscitation (p. 19), hypothermia (p. 72), vendue (p.
95), seine (p. 111), and rogue (p. 136).
Prepared by Pat Scales, Director of Library Services, the South Carolina
Governorís School for the Arts and Humanities, Greenville, South Carolina.