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An American Girl in 1864

Updated on September 15, 2013

1864 Was Not An Easy Time For An African American Girl


I hated touching anything that crawled when I was a girl in the 1960's.

Addy had to pick worms from the cotton plants. How could she do it I wondered while reading this book to my girls.

Living in the United States in the 1860's was not easy for African American girls. Addy and her family were slaves and they lived on a plantation in North Carolina. Addy and her family woke up in the mornings to go to work and stopped working in the evenings to go to sleep. Children live to have fun, but not the children on the plantation.

Being with your family can make life seem a little better and Addy did have her family, that is until she watched her father and brother being sold to live and work on another plantation. A plantation that her family knew nothing about, not even where it was.

Before her father was sold, Addy's parents were planning to try to escape from the plantation. Addys' mother chose not to change their plans. She and Addy would have to go alone.

As an adult I cannot imagine the courage and determination it took to pursue such an endeavor. After reading these books to my girls we had many conversations which shed a lot of light on the history of our country.

Even though my two daughters did not have everything they wanted they began to understand how much they did have after listening to the stories about Addy.

The Books

"Meet Addy" An American Girl

This book introduces Addy and her family and their life on the plantation.

"Addy Learns A Lesson" A School Story

There have been many changes in Addy's family and Addy and her mother are now free. Addy is able to go to school for the first time. Addy makes friends, one very special friend and one friend who is not very nice to Addy.

"Addy's Surprise" A Christmas Story

Addy and Momma celebrate Christmas differently this year. Momma has a job that pays her. She is able to make more choices than when she was a slave. Addy gets a special suprise for Christmas.

"Happy Birthday, Addy!" A Springtime Story

Addy is still faced with predjudice and makes a new friend who helps her to adjust to her new way of life.

"Addy Saves the Day" A Summer Story

Harriet is one of Addy's classmates and she is not nice to Addy. When the two of them
face a trajedy together, it changes their relationship.

"Changes for Addy" A Winter Story

Addy is still hoping for the day when her entire family will be reunited. Her dad and brother, Sam, are in Philadelphia with Addy and Momma but they are still looking for her baby sister, Esther, Auntie Lula and Uncle Solemon. This book is bitter sweet.


My Favorite Book of the Series

Addy Studies Freedom is my favorite of the series because it pulls together the many lessons that Addy has learned through experience and through an assignment given by her teacher along with the end of the war and the assination of President Abraham Lincoln. This book illustrates the impact of real history on a young African American girl and her family.

The story is fiction but the circumstances under which they live are circumstances that many lived through.

What Can We Learn From Addy?

Addy is a 9 year old girl at the beginning of the series. She has the same internal desires as any young girl. In the midst of difficult and challenging situations she chooses to make good decisions.

Escaping from the North Carolina plantation to freedom in Philadelphia she displayed courage and obedience.

Addy rose to the top of the class when she went to school because she wanted to be the best and she worked hard to be the best.

Addy was very resilient and strong. She learned from her mistakes and listened to those who gave her instruction and advice.

Courage, strength, good work ethics, persistence, obedience, and many more great qualities can be leaned from Addy.

Historical facts are presented throughout this series for the emergent reader and the entire family.


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    • sybol profile image

      sybol 4 years ago


      no worries, I remember the old coke commercials but I don't remember that one. You are right, they are memorable.


      You are welcome, you should be able to find them in the library. I use the library all the time and I have seen them.


      You are very welcome.


    • RonElFran profile image

      Ronald E Franklin 4 years ago from Mechanicsburg, PA

      This seems like a great series of books. What a wonderful resource for parents (or grandparents) to introduce children to aspects of history they really need to know about. Watching the video, Addy seems like the kind of character young people can very much identify with. Thanks for spreading the word about these books.

    • kidscrafts profile image

      kidscrafts 4 years ago from Ottawa, Canada

      Great hub, Sybol! Thank you for sharing this series of books! I will try to find them at the library.... unless they are available in ebooks?

    • cmoneyspinner1tf profile image

      Treathyl FOX 4 years ago from Austin, Texas

      Sybol, Apologies you didn't get the reference.

      It's old old old old old old Coca Cola commercial. It's a young African-American girl who's saying "The ad said they were looking for the all-American girl."

      At first she likely thinks - "(???) Hmm? Me??"

      The rest of her line goes: "And then I thought to myself: 'Hey!'"

      In other words, Why not me?

      Why not apply for whatever job they're advertising? After all, she's an all-American girl, isn't she?

      That commercial was from "black-in-the-day". It was a statement about the acceptance of diversity in America and the acknowledgement that black people are as American as anybody else.

      To this day I still remember that commercial. When I saw these Addy books, it brought it back to my mind.

      Sorry about that. Coca Cola always had such great commercials, I just assume everybody remembers them. I love Coca Cola's commercials!! :)

    • sybol profile image

      sybol 4 years ago


      I am not sure which ad you are talking about.



      The books will make very nice Christmas gifts.


    • pstraubie48 profile image

      Patricia Scott 4 years ago from sunny Florida

      I have not read these books. I must check them out.

      My grand nieces may just get these for Christmas. thanks for sharing.

      Angels are on the way ps

    • cmoneyspinner1tf profile image

      Treathyl FOX 4 years ago from Austin, Texas

      The ad said they were looking for the "All-American girl" and then someone said: "Do you know Addy?" :)