The Gospel Truth

The Gospel Truth

Book - 2014
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2015 Governor General's Literary Award Winner!!

Caroline Pignat's The Gospel Truth is the powerful and poignant story of 16-year-old Phoebe, a slave girl in 1858 Virginia. Written in lyrical and elegant free verse, it is an unflinching look at the brutality of slavery and Phoebe's struggle for freedom and truth. Ultimately, this is a story of hope.
- Governor General's Literary Awards Jury

CLA Young Adult Book Award Honour Book 2015

The Gospel Truth is a novel in verse. It addresses human rights issues and racism with a tale from the time of slavery in the United States and the underground railroad to Canada. Several distinct voices are established as the story unfolds from multiple perspectives. Hope, bravery and kindness shine from characters in desperate circumstances. With flowing text that will be devoured by reluctant readers and subject matter fit for class discussion, The Gospel Truth is a powerful read.
- CLA Jury

Geoffrey Bilson Award for Historical Fiction for Young People finalist, 2015

Amy Mathers Teen Book Award finalist, 2015

Ottawa Book Award: Finalist in the English Fiction category

2016 Red Maple Fiction Award nominee

Award-winning author Caroline Pignat's new historical novel recreates the world of a Virginia tobacco plantation in 1858. Through the different points of view of slaves, their masters and a visiting bird-watcher the world of the plantation comes to live in this verse novel.

Phoebe belongs to Master Duncan and works in the plantation kitchen. She sees how the other slaves are treated - the beatings and whippings, the disappearances. She hasn't seen her mother since Master Duncan sold her ten years ago. But Phoebe is trying to learn words and how to read and when she is asked to show the master's Canadian visitor, Doctor Bergman, where he can find warblers and chickadees she starts to see things differently. And Doctor Bergman has more in mind that just drawing the local birds.

Phoebe's friend Shad works on the plantation as well - but mostly he worries about his brother Will. His brother is the last member of his family and he is determined to escape from the master and the tobacco plantation. He has already been caught and beaten more than once. And the stories about life in Canada can't be true, can they? How does a man survive without the master there taking care of everything?

Publisher: Markham, Ontario :, Red Deer Press,, [2014]
Copyright Date: ©2014
ISBN: 9780889954939
Characteristics: 327 pages :,19 cm


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samdog123 Nov 24, 2015

Pignat always writes wonderful, heartfelt stories and this is no exception. Written in free verse, its the story of Phoebe, a slave at a plantation in the Carolinas before the Civil War. One day a Canadian physician comes to birdwatch, or so he says. Will Phoebe escape to freedom, or will she be caught and punished? This book is a reaffirmation of human rights and freedoms.

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