Rachel, Book 3: Certificate of Freedom


80 pages
Contains Maps
ISBN 0-14-301462-5
DDC jC813'.54




Illustrations by Ron Lightburn

Elisabeth Anne MacDonald-Murray is a private scholar, writing and
editing in Souris, Manitoba.


The Our Canadian Girl novels introduce young readers to important times
and events in Canadian history. Portrayed through the eyes of young
girls who are experiencing these events first-hand, the stories bring an
intimacy and immediacy to the historical record, making it come alive in
a way that a history textbook never could.

Rachel was born into slavery in the southern American colonies in 1773.
In Book 1, A Mighty Big Imagining (2001), she and her mother escape to
freedom in Nova Scotia, only to find the living conditions there harsher
than what they left behind. In Book 2, The Maybe House (2002), Rachel,
now settled in Birchtown, N.S. (the largest settlement of free black
people in all of North America, immediately following the American
Revolution), is determined to learn how to read, but just as she
accomplishes that goal, a riot breaks out in the town and her home is
burned down. Book 3, Certificate of Freedom, has Rachel facing more
prejudice and hostility. Driven out of Shelburne County by white
de-listed soldiers who resent the black Loyalists for taking jobs for
less pay, Rachel and her mother are kidnapped while out berry picking
and sold back into slavery. But Rachel is determined to escape and gets
some help from an unusual ally.

Rachel’s perseverance, spirit, intelligence, hope, and courage are
nothing less than inspiring as she struggles to survive under horrendous
circumstances. During the American Revolution, the British promised
black Loyalists independence and a free life in Nova Scotia in exchange
for their support. But the land the blacks were granted turned out to be
infertile and isolated. The resulting poverty and a freezing winter
brought many deaths.

Prefaced by a historical note providing background information and a
map, Certificate of Freedom is an engaging and enlightening story.


Kositsky, Lynne., “Rachel, Book 3: Certificate of Freedom,” Canadian Book Review Annual Online, accessed May 29, 2024, https://cbra.library.utoronto.ca/items/show/24074.