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Children's Fiction Europe

A Cage Without Bars

by (author) Anne Dublin

Second Story Press
Initial publish date
Sep 2018
Europe, Prejudice & Racism, Jewish
  • Paperback / softback

    Publish Date
    Sep 2018
    List Price
  • eBook

    Publish Date
    Sep 2018
    List Price

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Recommended Age, Grade, and Reading Levels

  • Age: 10 to 14
  • Grade: 5 to 8
  • Reading age: 10 to 14


In 1492, Queen Isabella and King Ferdinand of Spain signed the Edict of Expulsion, giving all Jews three months to leave the country. In the aftermath, twelve-year-old Joseph escapes to Lisbon, Portugal with his parents and younger sister, Gracia. After only eight months of safety, Joseph and Gracia, along with hundreds of other Jewish children, are kidnapped from the port in Lisbon and put on a ship. They then make a dangerous journey to the island of São Tomé, off the coast of West Africa. Now slaves, they are forced to work on a sugarcane plantation. Joseph must work in the fields, his life repeatedly saved by a combination of luck, strength, and quick wits. While Gracia tries to accept their circumstances, Joseph holds on to the hope that, one day, they will be free.

About the author

Anne Dublin is a former teacher-librarian and award-winning author living in Toronto. She has written two biographies for Second Story Press – June Callwood: A Life of Action and Bobbie Rosenfeld: The Olympian Who Could Do Everything – as well as Dynamic Women Dancers, part of the Women’s Hall of Fame series and the children’s historical fiction novel The Orphan Rescue.

Anne Dublin's profile page


  • Winner, Canadian Jewish Literary Award, Children/Youth
  • Commended, The Canadian Children's Book Centre's Best Books for Kids & Teens

Editorial Reviews

A Cage Without Bars is a short, well paced novel that will likely fill in a very specific gap in a young adult historical fiction collection.

CM Magazine

This is a standout work of historical fiction for children.


"The well-developed characters feel very real. Although the book is explicit about the suffering these children and others endured, the excellent writing makes the book accessible to children..."

Jewish Book Council

An important educational…take on this little-known historical tragedy.


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