Recommended Age, Grade, and Reading Levels
- Age: 9 to 13
- Grade: 4 to 8
Broken Trail, a white boy adopted by the Oneida First Nation and brought up to be a warrior, has seen much injustice done to his adoptive people and even more suffered by the Black slaves who spend their lives in bondage. The year is 1793, the year in which a new law is passed to gradually end slavery in Upper Canada. The new law is not perfect; it will leave hundreds still in slavery for the rest of their lives. But it is enough to make many slave owners afraid that their investment in slaves will soon be worth nothing. No wanting to lose money, they sell their slaves to dealers to take to slave markets in the United States. When a twelve-year-old girl, Rosa, and her father are sold to a slave dealer, Broken Trail has a plan that will not only rescue them from the slave dealer but also make them free for life. But where has the slave dealer taken Rosa and her father? Broken Trail embarks a dangerous search for the place where slaves are confined until they can be shipped across the border. The danger is great, and Broken Trail finds more than he expected.
About the author
Jean Rae Baxterholds a B.A. and M.A. from the University of Toronto and a B.Ed. from Queen's. She has been nominated for the 2022 Governor General's History Award for Popular Media: the Pierre Berton Award.
Although she grew up in Hamilton, "down home" was Essex County, where her ancestors had settled, some as Loyalists in the 1780's following the American Revolution and some a century earlier, in the days of New France.
Jean has written six historical novels, the "Forging a Nation Series," covering the period from 1777 to 1793:
The Way Lies North (2007)
Broken Trail (2011)
Freedom Bound (2012)
The White Oneida (2014)
Hope's Journey (2015)
The Knotted Rope (2021)
With The Battle on the Ice she moves ahead to the Patriot Wars of 1837—1838. Jean's historical novels have won awards in Canada and the United States, including all three Moonbeam medals, ——Gold, Silver, Bronze?for Young Adult Historical Fiction.
She was also nominated for the 2022 Governor General's History Award for Popular Media: the Pierre Berton Award: About her series, "Forging A Nation" the committee write: "We were honoured to learn more about your work as a teacher, writer and public speaker. Your series… has done the important work of introducing young readers to the stories of the past and fostering a life—long interest in Canadian history."
She has also authored a murder mystery, Looking for Cardenio, and two short story collections, Twist of Malice and Scattered Light.•
As a teacher of creative writing Jean holds workshops on using the tools of fiction to bring family history to life.