Gabriel King believes he was born chicken. He's afraid of spiders, corpses, loose cows, and just about everything related to the fifth grade. If it's a choice between raduating or staying in the fourth grade forever, he's going to stay put ─ only his best friend Frita Wilson won't hear of it.

"Gabe," says Frita, "we gotta do something about you." When Frita makes up her mind she's like a locomotive - there's no stopping her. "First you're going to make a list.
Write down everything you're afraid of."

Gabe's list is a lot longer than he'd like Frita to know. Plus, he can't quite figure out how tackling his fears will make him brave. Surely jumping off the rope swing over the catfish pond can only lead to certain death...But maybe Frita knows what she's doing. It turns out she's got her own list, and while she's watching Gabe tackle each of his fears, she's avoiding the fear that scares her the most.

With wisdom and clarity, K. L. Going explores the nature of fear in what should be an idyllic summer for two friends from different backgrounds. For them, living in a small town in Georgia with an active Ku Klux Klan, the summer of 1976 is a momentous one.


Liberation is available for purchase from the following places
Merritt Bookstore
Listening Library

"Kids often send me their fear lists after they've read The Liberation of Gabriel King. Sometimes school classes will read the book together and then discuss the things they're afraid of... I am always honored when they share those lists and discussions with me. It's so important to name our fears and talk about them. It's an act of bravery any time someone admits their fears to others. So, to honor the spirit of the book and the kids who share so honestly with me, here are ten of my personal fears, in no particular order."

KL's Fear List

1. spiders coming down from the ceiling when I'm sleeping and landing on me
2. anything bad happening to my family
3. speaking in front of big groups
4. merging into heavy traffic and crashing the car
5. getting bad book reviews (kind of like getting bad grades...)
6. running into a bear when I'm out walking (I live in the country so this could happen!)
7. scary people
8. hurting someone's feelings without realizing it (because then I can't apologize and make it better)
9. my cat, Pippin, getting lost
10. edges of high places, especially wobbly ones