post written by Emma Filbrun
Author: Janet Lunn
Major Themes: New York, Loyalists, Picture Books, American Revolution
Synopsis: When she defied her Patriot father to say goodbye to her Loyalist cousins, Charlotte was banished with them.
This book shocked us! We knew the synopsis of it before we started, but the ending was still astonishing. On the other hand, Charlotte is a good picture of how strong beliefs can create division.
Charlotte held whispered, brief conversations with her cousins at school—the only time she could communicate with them. Because their father was a Loyalist, her father, a staunch Patriot, had forbidden her to talk to them. Now, in 1783, soon after the close of the American Revolution, all the Loyalists were leaving New York to begin a new life in Nova Scotia. How could Charlotte let her cousins leave without saying good-bye? However, when she arrived home after this defiance of her father’s order, she found herself banished from home forever.
This true story is heartbreaking. We could hardly imagine that a father would send his young daughter away from home—but it really happened. He was so fixed on his political beliefs that he never wanted to see her again after she became, in his eyes, a traitor. I don’t know if I can really recommend this picture book for young children, although the illustrations are wonderful, but for slightly older children it helps add to understanding the tensions of the time and gives a warning against fanaticism.