Sunday, February 12, 2017

Shackles from the Deep: Tracing the Path of a Sunken Slave Ship, a Bitter Past, and a Rich Legacy by Pulitzer Prize-winning journalist Michael Cottman [Review & Giveaway]

ISBN13: 9781426326639
This month, National Geographic Children’s Books debuts two thought-provoking titles that expertly explore two largely unknown —  but vitally important  — true stories that spotlight the complex issues of slavery, injustice, fear and the challenges of change. Both works address tough subjects in a compelling and astute manner that provide historical context to understanding and discussing today’s racial issues. I have chosen to review one of these titles: Shackles from the Deep: Tracing the Path of a Sunken Slave Ship.

My thoughts: Growing up during pre-integration period of American history, I knew some but not a lot about our past history as it relates to the treatment of slaves and how they came to be here in America or in other areas of the world. I have since learned more about this dark period in mankind's history. But this is not the only people to have been enslaved throughout history. Enslavement has been rife throughout history. It is a rich heritage, indeed, that the abolition of slavery was sought and fought for. In Shackles from the Deep the transport of an enslaved people - those of African nationality, is shown for it's brutal reality.

As the author, a black man who loves deep sea diving, unites his love of diving, his love of history, and his own unique history to research and bring forth this story evidential layers of brutality come to the forefront. Originally written for an older audience and in more detail, "Shackles" is shorter and directed to the age 10 to 16 audience. The story is still intack with the author's realization that his own forebearers might have been wearing shackles just such as those found at the bottom of the sea, encased in rust, and within the bowles of the Henritta Marie.

The photographs and illustrations bring the reality of the ship's history and that of the human cargo it contained. This book would be a superb addition to libraries.

About the book: Tracing the Path of a Sunken Slave Ship, a Bitter Past, and a Rich Legacy

Press Release: WASHINGTON (Jan. 2017) Pulitzer Prize-winning journalist Michael Cottman delivers a tale that is “part mystery, part history, part self-discovery” (Booklist starred review) in this unique and mostly unknown true story of the Henrietta Marie, a slave ship that was wrecked off the coast of Florida at the turn of the 18th century, in his new book Shackles from the Deep (January 3, 2017; ISBN: 978-142-632663-9; Hardcover $17.99; Ages 10 and up).

Cottman retraces the ship’s route around the world: from England to West Africa, from the Henrietta Marie’s departing port in Senegal to the Jamaican plantation where the slaves it carried were sent to work. Cottman draws from his own experience as a diver and an African American, sharing his emotional journey of walking the steps of his ancestors and reliving the traumatic, treacherous and heartbreaking ordeal of these enslaved men, women – and children – who died on its final journey.

“Cottman weaves his personal story of discovery with history of the slave trade, helping readers understand why a sunken slave ship from the 1700s still matters,” reviewed Kirkus. “His emotional attachment to the artifacts, including child-sized shackles, deepens the storytelling in this highly readable narrative.”

Color photographs, a timeline, map, and further reading resources make this an enlightening historical study, while raising timely social questions. Cottman previously told the ship’s story for adults in The Wreck of the Henrietta Marie, and now makes this significant aspect of history accessible to young readers, who are the ones assigned the task of ensuring our future does not repeat the terrible mistakes of our past.

About the Author: Michael H. Cottman, Pulitzer Prize-winning journalist and author, is a former political reporter for the Washington Post. Cottman has appeared on National Public Radio's (NPR) "Tell Me More" with Michel Martin and also the Oprah Winfrey Show in 2000 to discuss his (adult) book The Wreck of the Henrietta Marie. Cottman also serves as a special consultant to the National Oceanic Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) for a national multimedia project, "Voyage to Discovery," an education initiative that focuses on the African-American contribution to the maritime industry spanning 300 years and efforts to teach students of color about careers in marine biology and oceanography.

About National Geographic Kids:  National Geographic Kids teaches kids about the world and how it works, empowering them to succeed and make it a better place.  National Geographic Kids inspires young adventurers through award-winning magazines, books, apps, games, toys, videos, events and a website, and is the only kids brand with a world-class scientific organization at its core.  You can follow National Geographic Kids on Twitter and Facebook.
Begins February 13
ENDS March 1 at 12:01 a.m. EST
Open to USA addresses only.
a Rafflecopter giveaway DISCLOSURE: I received a complimentary copy of Shackles from the Deep to facilitate a review of my honest opinion. I was not compensated for this review.


  1. The National Geographic Kids website (1) asks which fish goes best with peanut butter, and (2) discusses krill.

  2. Sounds like an interesting read, especially as extra reading in the classroom. Stopping by via Booknificent Thursday!

  3. I loved reading about the Launch Party where kids are invited to participate in creating a toilet paper roll creation. I also liked hearing about the National Geographic Kids Magazine.

  4. I've loved Nat Geo since I was a child and what a great launch! Shared this great giveaway! #ProductReviewParty

  5. Thank you for sharing this as I had never heard of this book before and love reading about our history as harsh as it may be! #ProductReviewParty

  6. I can't imagine my 10 year old being able to handle this topic. What a task to adapt it for that level! Thank you so much for sharing this at Booknificent Thursday on this week!

  7. I never heard of this book before. My oldest daughter loves learning about history, so this book would be good for her. Thanks for the giveaway!



Thank you for taking the time to leave a comment here at Chat With Vera. If you need to contact me directly, please use the "Comment Me" email associated with this blog and posted in the sidebar.