Cane Warriors

Akashic/Black Sheep. Oct. 2020. 160p. Tr $33.95. ISBN 9781617759062; pap. $14.95. ISBN 9781617758553.
Gr 7 Up–The year is 1760. Moa is 14 years old and enslaved in the sugar cane fields in Jamaica. Though they are on the same plantation, Moa only occasionally gets to see his parents and younger sister. He is drawn into the confidence of a small group of enslaved people who plan to run away on the day they refer to as the “white man’s Easter.” This is the beginning of what became known as Tacky’s Rebellion, and this book is a historical fiction account of that important event. Wheatle writes conversations between characters using authentic Jamaican Patois. There are a few scenes in the book that are violent, but Wheatle takes care to describe them in a way that is appropriate for the audience. Wheatle brings the struggle of slavery in the Jamaican sugar cane fields to life, and follows up the story with an author’s note detailing his personal interest in Tacky’s Rebellion.
VERDICT A refreshing and heartbreaking story that depicts both a real-life uprising against oppression and the innate desire to be free. Highly recommended for all libraries serving middle and high school students.

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