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Finding Providence
illus. by James Watling
HarperCollins, 1997
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Finding Providence: the Story of Roger Williams

The year is 1635, and Mary Williams and her family live in the Massachusetts Bay Colony. Her father, Roger, is on trial for preaching new ideas about freedom. When found guilty, he flees into the cold, telling Mary that she must trust in God's providence to see him to safety. Roger's only hope of survival lies with the Narragansett Indians. Will Mary ever see her father again?

Behind the Book

Avi writes: You can’t live in Providence, Rhode Island, as I have, without learning about Roger Williams, who helped create the tiny state we know today. In his day he was a controversial figure, and he remains so today. Partly it was his religious beliefs. But it was also his attitude toward the Native American. He believed English settlers had no right to take land from those who already lived there. This small book is a fictionalized account of that aspect of his life.


Children's Literature:

“… the story of the founding of Providence, Rhode Island, told from the perspective of the daughter of Roger Williams … The story demonstrates the simple but powerful concept that has come to be enshrined as the constitutional separation of church and state.”

Awards and Honors

Pick of the Lists, IRA, 1997

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