Project Description

Teacher’s Guide

The Other Side of Free

by Krista Russell

Jem has escaped from slavery. Now it’s up to him to decide what he believes, who he trusts, and what freedom really means.

In 1739, England and Spain are on the verge of war and former slaves are arriving in St. Augustine, where the Spanish will give them their freedom in exchange for their loyalty. Fourteen-year-old Jem has escaped a cruel master but is now in the custody of Phaedra, a difficult and angry woman. He thought he was free, he thought he was a man – but Phaedra controls his every move and takes every opportunity to remind him that he’s still a child. And as the threat of war becomes more real, Jem starts to understand the meaning of freedom and the complex connections that make a community.

Hardcover: $16.95
ISBN: 978-1-56145-710-6
Total Pages: 256
Size: 6 x 8 1/2
Language: English
Format: E-book
ISBN: 978-1-56145-876-9
Age Range: 8 – 12
Language: English

Purchase this E-book through the following vendors:

Baker & Taylor
Barnes & Noble
Recorded Books

Accelerated Reader

AR Quiz#: 163145

AR Reading Level: 4.6

AR Points: 8

F&P (Fountas & Pinnell)

F&P Level: X

F&P Grade: 6

Reading Counts

Reading Counts Level: 3.7

Reading Counts Points: 14

Reading Counts Interest Level: 6-8


“Russell illuminates a little-known piece of American history in this well-researched novel for middle-grade readers… The unfamiliar but engrossing topic and fast-paced action will keep readers interested…a welcome and well-written work of history.” ―Kirkus

“This book is a must read…beautifully written, yet simple enough for younger readers to read on their own. It would make the perfect addition to any American History or Black American History curriculum.” ―Middle Shelf

“A superbly crafted historical novel…as accurately informative as it is solidly entertaining. … Krista Russell has an impressive gift as a storyteller and novelist. Highly recommended for school and community library collections.” ―The Midwest Book Review

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“The story was fast paced, the vocabulary wasn’t inaccessible to your 4-6 grade age (give or take) reader, and the characters were really interesting. This is a subject that we haven’t seen many books about, especially from the freed slave’s point of view.” ―Maestra Amanda’s Bookshelf

“This book is a chapter book that would be good to have in the upper elementary or middle school libraries and classroom. The Underground Railroad is an important part of our history. Having great books the kids can read helps not only educate the kids but maybe sparks an interest in historical fiction and non-fiction.” ―Gidget’s Bookworms

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Parents’ Choice Silver Honor Award ―Parents’ Choice Foundation 2013

Kansas State Reading Circle Recommended Reading List (starred, middle school / junior high) ―Kansas National Education Association 2014

Meet the Author

Krista Russell is a graduate of Seton Hill University’s Writing Popular fiction program. A Massachusetts native, she now lives in Georgia. You can visit her website here.