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Elisa Carbone

Sharon Natoli

“Novels are teaching tools. While the imagination is entertained, the brain absorbs all sorts of information about human nature, history, or how to make guacamole. That’s the fun of writing—I get to teach and entertain at the same time.”—Elisa Carbone

Elisa Carbone’s historical novel Stealing Freedom was named an ALA Best Book for Young Adults.


Elisa Carbone used to teach in the Speech Communications department at the University of Maryland, but now she is enjoying being a full-time writer and part-time rock climber, windsurfer, and white-water kayaker. “The physical exertion of the sports balances out the mental exertion of writing,” she says. She loves doing the research required to write historical fiction and is fascinated by the small details of everyday life in the past. Ms. Carbone’s “Sarah” books (Starting School with an Enemy and Sarah and the Naked Truth) have been praised for their accessibility to reluctant readers.


Born: January 2 in Washington, DC

Previous jobs: Taught in the Speech Communications department at the University of Maryland. Before that, I’d been a dance teacher and taught piano and guitar lessons.

Inspiration for writing: Things that make me laugh and fascinating stories from the past that have not yet been told.

Favorite foods: Baked potatoes (boring, huh?)

Favorite clothes to wear: Sweatpants with T-shirts in the summer and a sweater in the winter—and sandals all year round!

Favorite colors: Purple! I wear purple virtually every day, and even buy purple climbing ropes and paint my toenails purple.

Favorite books: Any book that makes me laugh or is beautifully written.


“Imaginatively and sensitively adapted from the historical records, this portrait will evoke admiration for the courage of both those who resisted slavery and those who endured it.”—Starred, Publishers Weekly

“This historical novel combines the appeal of exciting escape adventure with authentic details of the time and place. Carbone’s research is meticulous.”—Booklist

“The spunky ten-year-old heroine of Starting School with an Enemy is back, and she’s welcome.”—Kirkus Reviews

“This middle-grade novel belongs at the head of its class.”—Starred, Publishers Weekly

“Will keep even reluctant readers hooked until the end.”—School Library Journal

Author Bookshelf

Last Dance on Holladay Street

By: Elisa Carbone

The year is 1878, and 13-year-old Eva has lost all the family she’s ever known. Eva feels like an orphan—but she’s not. Sadie Lewis, the woman who gave her up at birth, is alive and well in Denver. And Eva...

Night Running

By: Elisa Carbone
illustrated by: Earl B. Lewis

It's 1838, and James has made a secret plan to escape Master Graham’s farm–and slavery. James tells his dog Zeus he has to stay behind: he’s simply too noisy to bring along on a dangerous...

Stealing Freedom

By: Elisa Carbone

Twelve-year-old Ann Maria Weems works from sunup to sundown, wraps rags around her feet in the winter, and must do whatever her master or mistress orders--but she has something that many plantation slaves don't have. She has her...

Storm Warriors

By: Elisa Carbone

Driven from his home by the Ku Klux Klan and still reeling from the death of his mother, Nathan moves with his father and grandfather to the desolate Pea Island on the Outer Banks of North Carolina to start a new...

The Pack

By: Elisa Carbone

Becky is convinced that Akhil Vyas is the weirdest person on earth when he shows up in her English class. He refuses to sit in chairs, stares at her with spooky eyes, and has scar-covered skin. But soon...

Blood on the River

By: Elisa Carbone

Twelve-year-old Samuel Collier is a lowly commoner on the streets of London. So when he becomes the page of Captain John Smith and boards the Susan Constant, bound for the New World, he can’t believe...

Heroes of the Surf

By: Elisa Carbone
Illustrated by: Nancy Carpenter

Adventure on the high seas!

WHAM! The Pliny jolts as if Black Beard himself has just punched her in the belly. Pedro and I slide and smack--bang--into the bulwark.

"We're grounded," cries...


By: Elisa Carbone

Jump. That is what P.K. has done. A totally wild, crazy jump from a restrictive life with her family into a life of total adventure—rock-climbing out west with a guy she barely knows. At first, everything’s...

Diana's White House Garden

By: Elisa Carbone
Illustrated by: Jen Hill

Diana Hopkins lived in a white house. THE White House.

World War II is in full force across the seas. It's 1943, President Roosevelt is in office, and Diana's father, Harry Hopkins, is his chief advisor....