The IHS Press book By Freedom’s Light, written by Elizabeth O’Maley, won an honorable mention honor in the juvenile fiction category in ForeWord Reviews 2009 Book of the Year Awards. ForeWord named 201 Book of the Year Award winners in 60 categories at a ceremony Wednesday, May 26, at BookExpo America in New York City. These books, representing the best independently published works from 2009, were selected by a panel of librarian and bookseller judges.
ForeWord’s founder and publisher, Victoria Sutherland, spoke at the awards ceremony and announced the winners. “This year more than ever before, we heard from the judges how great the finalist books were and how difficult it was to make their decisions,” she said. “Despite this tough economy, independent publishers are producing some of the best books out there, and we are happy to honor them today.”
By Freedom’s Light, a historical novel for grades four and up, examines both the harshness of a slave society and the brave acts of people who helped slaves find freedom.
Thirteen-year-old Sarah Caldwell is an unhappy Indiana pioneer. She misses her sister, Rachel, who stayed behind in North Carolina. Worse yet, their widowed father has married a Quaker schoolteacher, whom Sarah discovers is a secret abolitionist. When Rachel and her family arrive for a visit, Sarah is overjoyed. Rachel brings Polly, a slave girl, with her. As Polly and Sarah become friends, Sarah questions her beliefs about slavery. Soon she is faced with a life-altering decision.