A Cage Without Bars

A Cage Without Bars


By Anne Dublin

WINNER! 2019 Canadian Jewish Literary Award! (Children/Youth)

The hope of freedom.

In 1492, Queen Isabella and King Ferdinand of Spain signed the Edict of Expulsion, giving all Jews three months to leave the country. Joseph Belifonte, a 12-year-old boy, escapes to Lisbon, Portugal with his parents and younger sister, Gracia. After only eight months of safety, Joseph and Gracia, along with hundreds of other Jewish children, are kidnapped and put on a ship that takes them to the island of São Tomé, off the coast of West Africa.

Now slaves, the children are forcibly baptized and made to work on a sugarcane plantation. While Gracia tries to accept their circumstances, Joseph holds to the hope that, one day, he will be free and find his parents again.

Listen to Anne Dublin talk about A Cage Without Bars on the Book of Life Podcast here!

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About the Author

Anne Dublin is an award-winning writer of biographies and historical novels for young people. She is the author of middle grade novels The Orphan Rescue and 44 Hours or Strike!, which received the Canadian Jewish Literary Award for Youth in 2016. As well as the books June Callwood: A Life of Action, Bobbie Rosenfeld: The Olympian Who Could Do Everything, and Dynamic Women Dancers. Anne lives in Toronto, Ontario.

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Teacher’s Guide for A Cage Without Bars

Written by Anne Dublin, for Grades 5-8

Product Information

  • Release: September 10, 2018

  • $10.95 Paperback

  • 160 Pages

  • Children's Fiction

  • 5.25 x 7.5

  • Ages 10-14 / Grades 5-8

  • Lexile: 620L Guided Reading: Z

  • ISBN: 9781772600698


  • Geography
    > Spain
    > Portugal
    > São Tomé

  • Language Arts
    > Historical Fiction

  • History / Social Studies
    > Sephardim
    > Alhambra Decree
    > Edict of Expulsion
    > Prejudice & Racism
    > Slavery

Awards for A Cage Without Bars

  • WINNER 2019 Canadian Jewish Literary Award! - Children/Youth Category

Praise for A Cage Without Bars

"The well-developed characters feel very real. Although the book is explicit about the suffering these children and others endured, the excellent writing makes the book accessible to children..." - Jewish Book Council

"An important educational…take on this little-known historical tragedy." - Kirkus

A Cage Without Bars is a short, well paced novel that will likely fill in a very specific gap in a young adult historical fiction collection.” - CM Magazine

“This is a standout work of historical fiction for children.” - Association of Jewish Libraries (AJL)