Jean Laffite: The Pirate Who Saved America

Susan Goldman Rubin, illus. by Jeff Himmelman. . Abrams, $18.95 (48p) ISBN 978-0-8109-9733-2

Move over, Jack Sparrow. Jean Laffite grew up hearing stories of how his Jewish family was persecuted in Spain and forced to flee to Port-au-Prince in what is now Haiti. Carrying a letter of marque from France, Laffite (c. 1776–c. 1823) and his brothers sailed the high seas, capturing vessels flying the Spanish flag. Debut illustrator Himmelman’s copper-toned digital illustrations are warm and cinematic: whether Laffite is staring down his enemy on a ship engulfed in flames or looking fiercely contemplative as leader of the first “pirate convention,” he emerges as a handsome and magnetic hero. Readers will be captivated by this exciting story of a little known privateer. Endnotes offer more in-depth biographical information, including Laffite’s conflicted attitude toward slavery and the possibility that he faked his own death. Ages 6–9. Agent: George Nicholson, Sterling Lord Literistic. (Apr.)
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