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Mary Jemison: The True Story of A Native American Captive

Macmillan Publishers

Many novels begin by setting the protagonist in a brand new world. Something fundamental changes in their lives and everything that character once knew is suddenly ripped away. It happens in real life too.

In 1758, 15-year-old Mary Jemison was living in Pennsylvania during the French and Indian War. She and her family were captured by a band of Shawnee and French warriors. Her family was killed and she was traded to the Seneca tribe and taken in by two sisters. She was renamed and learned a new way of life with the Seneca people. She was eventually given a choice to return to her former life – does she stay or go?

Jane Kelly, who is one of four authors writing under the collective pseudonym E.F. Abbott, explores the story in her newest novel, Mary Jemison: Native American Captive. It’s part of the “Based on a True Story” series for middle grade readers.

"We think of history as being a collection of facts, but facts are just reported by people," Kelly says. "There's a lot of disagreement if  you go in certain accounts of what happened to Mary, what happened to her life. You don't find everybody having the same story."

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