Jonas has lived all of his thirteen years on a farm in Missouri, and even though he hears whispers about freedom, he thinks he’ll never try to escape. He knows what happens to slaves who attempt to run away. Besides, Master William has promised to make Jonas his personal manservant, and Jonas thinks fine suits and special privileges sound like a dream. But this dream is put on hold when, in 1859, Master William’s good-for-nothing son, Percy, decides to seek his fortune in the Kansas Territory gold fields, taking Jonas along as his cook and caretaker. Although Percy is a brutal master, Jonas is surprised to find that the other members of the wagon train don’t hold his views about slavery. Jonas even befriends a doctor’s daughter, who teaches him how to read. And with each word Jonas learns, he discovers that there are much bigger dreams a boy can have than being another man’s servant.
In this unforgettable novel, Maurine F. Dahlberg tells the story of a slave coming to understand his own worth. The Story of Jonas is a 2008 Bank Street - Best Children's Book of the Year.