1848. The Bondi family is leaving for a better life in America. But 15-year-old Anschl doesn't want to go. He's found his life's purpose in Vienna, fighting on the barricades against a tyrant king. In America, Anschl tries to put his past behind him, changing his name to August and seeking adventure aboard a Texas riverboat. But there is a new tyranny in his adopted land called slavery, and its presence all around him rekindles the fire in the young freedom fighter. It leads him to Kansas Territory and the adventure of his life alongside the notorious abolitionist John Brown.
Action-packed narrative and contemporary dialogue shed new light on questions of race, violence, and conscience that kids confront today. Includes a factual preface and epilogue with two pages of maps to immerse readers in Bondi's world.
Firebrand is an innovative work of historical fiction -- a ''mashup'' of the autobiography of Jewish freedom fighter August Bondi (1833-1907) and the 1958 novel Border Hawk, based on Bondi's memoir and written by future Newbery and National Book Award winner Lloyd Alexander. Aaron Barnhart's previous historical work was praised for ''taking the complex … and rendering it reader-friendly'' (Kansas City Star). Now Aaron has reimagined August's amazing story to inspire a new generation of readers.
''[A] likable, teen-friendly novel, accessible and historically rigorous, Firebrand is potential supplement to U.S. history studies at the middle school or high school level.'' --Kirkus Reviews