Reader Reviewed Passing for White by Tanya Landman

Passing for White

Written by Tanya Landman

13+ readers   Summer Reading   Super-readable Dyslexia-friendly   UKLA 2018   
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The Lovereading4Kids comment

Longlisted for the UKLA 2018 Book Award

Interest Age Teen Reading Age 8 | In a nutshell: brilliantly told story inspired by real life events

A story of a daring escape made by two slaves, a young woman and her husband, provides the inspiration for Tanya Landman’s story. Rosa and Benjamin meet, fall in love and marry but because they are slaves, their lives are not their own. When Rosa discovers she is pregnant – and confesses to her husband that the child might be her master’s – they decide to run. Rosa is so fair skinned that even Benjamin mistook her for a white at first, so they decide to disguise themselves as a white master and his ‘boy’. Their escape is full of drama and tension, but what will shock young readers is the casual brutality and hateful self-justification of the white slave owners Rosa encounters. It’s a story that makes you doubt humanity, while also celebrating individual courage and resilience. ~ Andrea Reece

Particularly suitable for struggling, reluctant and dyslexic readers aged 13+.

Barrington Stoke is the foremost publisher of dyslexia friendly books and those for reluctant readers. Here on Lovereading4kids we are constantly selecting new titles and refreshing our special dyslexia friendly category.

Click here to view our current selection which is broken down by age range.

Reader Reviews

In addition to our Lovereading expert opinion some of our Lovereading4kids Reader Review Panel were also lucky enough to read and review this title. You can read their full reviews by clicking here.

  • Ella Bourke, age 12 - 'I think this book is very inspiring and it is amazing that the story is based on a real-life experience. It is no wonder that a book by the same author won the 2015 Carnegie medal and this book could well win the 2017 one!'
  • William Longlands, age 13 - '10/10.  This book is based on a real story...written well and has a good flow to it.'
  • Isaac Phelan, age 13 - 'This book brilliantly illustrates the horror that slaves endured in the 19th century.'
  • Jack Wilson, age 14 - 'Passing For White is massively eye opening to the hardships and horrors of racial segregation.'
  • Francesca Anderson - 'A very thought provoking story about the horrendous conditions & abuse that people of colour were subjected too. It is hard to believe that this was based on a true story.'


Passing for White by Tanya Landman

It's 1848 in the Deep South of America. Rosa is a slave but her owner is also her father and her fair skin means she can 'pass for white'. With the help of her husband Benjamin, she disguises herself as a young southern gentleman - and Benjamin's master. In this guise, the couple flee the South, explaining away their lack of literacy, avoiding those they have encountered before and holding their nerve over a thousand miles to freedom. Inspired by the amazing true story of Ellen Craft who escaped a life of slavery through a daring disguise and won freedom for herself and her husband.

Particularly suitable for struggling, reluctant and dyslexic readers aged 13+

About the Author

Tanya Landman

Tanya Landman has written numerous books for children and young people, including Buffalo Soldier, winner of the Carnegie Medal, Apache, shortlisted for the Carnegie Medal and the Booktrust Teenage Prize, The Goldsmith's Daughter and Hell and High Water, shortlisted for the Guardian Children's Fiction Prize, the Sam Swann and Poppy Fields mystery series and the beautiful picture book Mary's Penny. Tanya lives in Bideford, Devon, with her husband and their two sons. Read more about the author here.

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Book Info


112 pages


Tanya Landman
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Barrington Stoke Ltd

Publication date

15th May 2017




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