Born For Adventure

Molly Edenfield

Author: Kathleen Karr

Date: Written in 2007, but the story line takes place in the late 1800's

Book Quotes

1. "Naked black Africans were chained up worse than animals. Hundreds of them, herded together on the hard-packed dirt"

This quotes gives a glimpse at the slavery present in the book. It puts on paper how terribly African slaves are treated throughout the book and history.

2. "The jungle. It ate more than arms and legs and books. Now it was gnawing at our very minds and souls."

This line expresses the harshness of the jungle that they are trying to survive in throughout the course of the book. It shows the intense, negative impact the jungle and war has on the men.

3. "I threw my head back and laughed at the stars. Was either that or a cry, wasn't it?"

This quote is the very last lines of the book. The importance of it lies in that experiencing and witnessing of war, slavery, and the jungles of Africa takes a tole on man. Even so to a point where he is unsure if he can laugh without crying.


-Kathleen Karr received the award of "The New York Public Library Books for the Teen Age" in 2008 for Born For Adventure

-She has also gotten other awards for many of her other books such as the "Bank Street College Best Children's Book of the Year" in 2005, the "Children's Literature Choice List" in 2005, and the "The New York Public Library Books for the Teen Age" in 2002.

Characters, Conflict, & Resolution

The main character is a 16 year old English boy named Tom Ormsby.

Conflict: Tom found himself signing up for war in hopes of an adventure to wake him up form his boring routine of life. He was shipped off to the deepest jungles of Africa with the Relief of Emin Pasha Expedition to, obviously, provide help and relief to fellow Englishman Emin Pasha. Tom was faced with war, the jungle, cannibal tribes, and sickness. The main conflict is Tom being stuck in the jungle fighting for his survival.

Resolution: Though there is bumps along the way such as death of comrades, homesickness, starvation, and exhaustion, Tom survived the African jungle and learned about leadership roles, the African jungle and tribes, and even about himself.

Interesting Details

1. One thing that makes the story interesting is the interaction that Tom, the main character, has with people. From doctors, to slaves, to ship engine engineers, Tom befriends many different people along the way and learns a new important lesson from each.

2. The element of suspension and action are present for sure. There are times you're on the edge of your seat and can't put the book down. This is the most interesting aspect to the book.

3. Another thing that makes the book interesting is the history in it. Reading it, I was actually shocked that some of this stuff wasn't completely made up and that it actually happened.

Historical References

1. African Slavery: The book touched on the inhuman treatment of African slaves and how they were used for cheap labor. This actually happened in history for about 245 years if not more.

2. The Ivory Craze: In the book, ivory is a major concern for people to acquire because of its value. This is true in history as well because of ivory's beauty, value, and demand. The craze is so much so that the population African elephant, which must be killed to get ivory tusks, has gone from 26 million in 1800 to less than 1 million today.

3. The Relief of Emin Pasha Expedition: The expedition that the book is based on is an actual English expedition in history that took place from 1887-1889.


I actually enjoyed this book and would recommend it! I honestly thought it would be very boring because of the historical aspects; however, the author did a very good job of adding the aspects of adventure and suspension to keep the reader intrigued. It was very eventful and interesting to see into a different culture and the depths of the African jungle.