A work of historical fiction, Nobody's Boy is loosely based on the real-life story of a slave named George. George's owner, Hugh Garland, lawyer for Mrs. Emerson in the Dred Scott case, brought him to St. Louis at about the age of five. Disregarded by his white, slave-owning father and with no last name, George longed to escape the lot of being "nobody's boy." George's mother, Elizabeth Keckly (future dressmaker for and confidante of Mary Todd Lincoln), bought their freedom when George was sixteen. It gave him the means to help his slave friend escape to the North, away from the slave pens and whipping posts of St. Louis.
Later, George would attend college in Ohio. The light-skinned George ultimately joined a Missouri regiment in the Civil War, enlisting as a white man on the Union side. Not long after, he died in the battle of Wilson's Creek.
The early 1850s was an important time in Missouri-a turning point in the buildup to the war and the beginning of the historic Dred Scott case. The story of George's short life is an intimate look at race and life in Missouri at this time, seen through the eyes of an African American boy who grew up on the color line.
"The backdrop is thrilling.... What really keeps the pages turning is the close-up of George, a light-skinned young slave, who can pass for white in a cruel world, and his brave rescue of his friend."
"[A] gripping historical novel for children.... Fleischner draws nuanced portraits...."
-The Washington Post
ISBN: 978-1-883982-58-4, $12.95, paper