Celebrate Black History Month

Road Trip Wednesday is a ‘Blog Carnival,’ where YA Highway's contributors post a weekly writing- or reading-related question and answer it on our own blogs. You can hop from destination to destination and get everybody's unique take on the topic.
This Week's Topic:

February is Black History Month and it's also the month of Valentine's Day. So let's show some writerly love by answering the following question: Who is your favorite African American author or fictional character?

     The first thing that came to mind was a character, or rather two characters. Most people have read Laurie Halse Anderson's Speak or Wintergirls. But have you picked up her historical YA novels Chains and Forge?
     I loved these books (and there's a third on the way). The main character in Chains is Isabel, a thirteen-year-old slave during the American Revolution. Here's the blurb from Anderson's website:

If an entire nation could seek its freedom, why not a girl?
As the Revolutionary War begins, thirteen-year-old Isabel wages her own fight… for freedom. Promised freedom upon the death of their owner, she and her sister, Ruth, in a cruel twist of fate become the property of a malicious New York City couple, the Locktons, who have no sympathy for the American Revolution and even less for Ruth and Isabel. When Isabel meets Curzon, a slave with ties to the Patriots, he encourages her to spy on her owners, who know details of British plans for invasion. She is reluctant at first, but when the unthinkable happens to Ruth, Isabel realizes her loyalty is available to the bidder who can provide her with freedom.
From acclaimed author Laurie Halse Anderson comes this compelling, impeccably researched novel that shows the lengths we can go to cast off chains, both physical and spiritual.

Forge is a sequel, but it follows Curzon's story. Here's the blurb:

In this compelling sequel to Chains, the perspective shifts from Isabel to Curzon and we learn what it takes for runaway slaves to forge their own paths in the midst of the chaos of the American Revolution.
In the desperate circumstances of the Valley Forge winter, Curzon the boy becomes Curzon the young man. In addition to the hardships of soldiering, he lives with the fear of being discovered as an escaped slave passing for free. Isabel is also at Valley Forge—against her will. She and Curzon have to sort out the tangled threads of their friendship while figuring out what stands between the two of them and true freedom.

     These books were both really good. Laurie Halse Anderson is an amazing writer and she makes reading historical easy and fascinating. If you haven't read these yet, you should.