Calico Captive *****
by Elizabeth George
Overview: Miriam, her sister's family, and some other colonists are captured by Indians in New Hampshire during the French and Indian war. They struggle North, for miles through the wilderness, to where they are sold as slaves to the French.
Themes: courage, family, friendship, prejudice
Positive elements: very well-written, wonderful characters, well-paced story
Negative elements: kidnapping, separation of the family, some rough treatment, hunger, imprisonment, war, overall and pervasive suffering
Conclusion: I read this book aloud to my girls, but I had to "edit" the beginning when they were captured. It was very intense and scary. They weren't abused as captives or slaves, but they were in an almost constant state of hunger and depression. The story did have some light moments, but overall it was too sad for young readers. Thankfully, the story has a happy ending. It is based on a true story, and I would recommend it for an older reader. The characters are truly amazing, and you feel as if you know them and hurt with them by the end.
Speare has also written The Witch of Blackbird Pond, Sign of the Beaver and the Bronze Bow. All of those are excellent books and among my favorites for young adult fiction.