Who is your favorite character in this book and why?
William Henry.  It seems William Henry was born knowing what is important in life.  He “inhaled” reading.  He learned through every experience and put all of that to the best use he knew.  He stood by those he loved and reached out to those in need.  He did not second-guess his decisions once he set his feet on a path.  I loved his audacity and decisive nature.  That does not mean I agreed with all of his decisions – but, like thirteen-year-old Robert, I loved and admired him.

My third grader cried at one point as I read the book to the children and didn’t want to continue with the story because it made him sad. (We were at a particularly difficult point where the slaves were severely mistreated.) We worked through the painful spot and finished the novel, which is very redemptive. Do you have advice for parents as they discuss the hard issues of this book?
Hold your children close.  Mourn loss with them.  Mourning a character or situation in a book helps children understand that it is okay to cry, that grief is normal, and that life does go on, even after bad things happen.  Let them know that the bad things people have done to each other are not right and should never be repeated.  Tell them that by knowing these things they can decide, like Robert, how and when to take their own stand for what is right and good and true, and how to keep going when life is very hard.  Help children recognize unfair, unjust treatment in the world they live in.  Help them understand how they, even in their youth, can respond to that.  Talk about the people who helped Robert, the people he could trust and why they were trustworthy.  Talk about trustworthy people in your child’s life, and why you, or they, believe them trustworthy.

What one message would you like to leave with your readers?
We are not victims in life.  We each have the opportunity to make choices about what we believe and how we act upon those beliefs. 
 

A homeschooling mother of four, Paula Moldenhauer is passionate about God's grace. Published over 300 times, she’s recently released two novels: Titanic: Legacy of Betrayal and Postmark: Christmas. Her website offers homeschooling and parenting articles, devotionals, and information about her books. www.paulamoldenhauer.com  Contact Paula: Paula@soulscents.us