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The Liberation of Gabriel King by K. L.…

The Liberation of Gabriel King

by K. L. Going

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Another good kid's novel about facing fears. ( )
  OliviaGarcia | Jul 24, 2014 |
What a precious children's novel. Set in Georgia, in the 1970's, Gabriel and his best friend Frita set out to squash the demons in their lives. Gabriel is a self-confessed chicken, but Frita is exactly his polar opposite. Frita is gutsy, ferocious and as Gabriel says - when Frita gets something in her mind, watch out! After an encounter with bullies, Gabriel decides he's not going to move up to the fifth grade. Frita is devastated, but not for long. She outlines a plan in which the two of them will overcome all their fears over the summer. As they tackle spiders, the highway and a host of other fears, Frita has to face being called "nigger" by a local Ku Klux Klan member. Gabriel and Frita's adventures leave adults weak in the knees for lack of bravery, but shine in their determination to grow as individuals. ( )
  laurensx | Sep 12, 2011 |
Plot: The year is 1976. Gabriel King, just out of fourth grade, is afraid of many things, but moving up to fifth grade is the scariest thing of all. After all, he'll now be in the same wing of the school as Duke Evans and Frankie Carmen. Frita, Gabriel's best friend, also has fears some of which come from the prejudice people in their town have against black people. Frita decides that over summer she and Gabriel will make a list of their fears and face them one by one. This, she thinks, will make 5th grade far less scary for Gabriel, if he decides to move up, that is.

Why I picked it up: I learned about it from the blog motherreader.com. where she was making recommendations for summer reading. The idea of kids facing and overcoming their fears caught my attention.

Why I kept reading: In a word, Frita. She made the story for me. Her loyalty to help Gabriel was touching. I loved the strong themes of perseverance, friendship, family, and standing up to injustice.

In the end: It's a great coming of age story with characters that are easy to relate to. As I suspected it was a hope-filled story. It left me feeling curious to know how the characters, especially Duke and Frankie would turn out as they grew up.

I recommend this to children's book group leaders who are looking for a book that will generate discussion. Also to some of my church friends who are homeshcooling. This book will generate good conversation about facing and overcoming fears and how we do that. ( )
  librarian4Him02 | Sep 5, 2011 |
Gabriel King is shy and weary of the neighborhood bullies. On the last day of fourth grade he decides fifth grade is not an option. The biggest, nastiest bully will be in his school. His spunky, feisty friend Frita decides that it is time for Gabriel to face his fears.

Compiling a list of his fears, Frita systematically prods him to face them one by one over the summer in preparation for fall.

This is a cute book, but a boring one. The characters were not well developed. Considering the fact that the author previously won the Michael L. Printz honor for her book Fat Kids Rule, I expected more from The Liberation of Gabriel King. Since I only paid .50 for the book at a used book store, I'm glad I didn't waste a lot of money.

Not recommended. ( )
1 vote Whisper1 | Aug 27, 2011 |
Interesting, thought-provoking, but not especially thrilling story of learning courage in the midst of adversity. I appreciated the premise and yet I felt dragged down by the story's mini-adventures and somewhat boring characters. I applaud the effort more than the result. ( )
  anniecase | Dec 11, 2009 |
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Amazon.com Product Description (ISBN 0142407666, Paperback)

Gabriel King was a born chicken. He’s afraid of spiders, corpses, loose cows, and just about everything related to the fifth grade. Gabe’s best friend, Frita Wilson, thinks Gabe needs some liberating from his fears. Frita knows something about being brave— she’s the only black kid in school in a town with an active Ku Klux Klan. Together Gabe and Frita are going to spend the summer of 1976 facing down the fears on Gabe’s list. But it turns out that Frita has her own list, and while she’s helping Gabe confront his fears, she’s avoiding the thing that scares her the most.

(retrieved from Amazon Mon, 30 Sep 2013 13:18:31 -0400)

(see all 5 descriptions)

In Georgia during the summer of 1976, Gabriel, a white boy who is being bullied, and Frita, an African American girl who is facing prejudice, decide to overcome their many fears together as they enter fifth grade.

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