Home > Resources > Authors > Donna McDine > Powder Monkey
Powder Monkey
By Donna McDine , Illustrated by K.C. Snider
An Academic Wings book.

Forced into a life at sea by the Royal Navy Press Gangs, 12-year-old Tommy Kitt finds himself in a floating sea of misery. Poor living conditions and beatings occur daily. Despite his small size, Tommy must summon the courage and physical ability to prevail in a situation he cannot escape.


"Powder Monkey by Donna M. McDine tells the story of 12-year-old Tommy Kitt. He is captured and forced to be a seaman by the Royal Navy Press Gang, which has also taken his older brother James and other young boys in his village.

Worthy praise goes to illustrator K.C. Snider for the beautiful and nostalgic style of illustrations. I am always interested in history, and the life of young sailor boys in the Royal Navy in the eighteenth and early nineteenth centuries fascinates me. Tommy Kitt and the other boys’ hard lives at sea are described with such realism and accuracy of what these boys had to endure working for the Royal Navy during this harsh era. The action scenes are vividly portrayed, and the pacing of the story is superb...Donna M. McDine's ability as an excellent storyteller is undeniable. Also, it is a story that presents historical facts in an interesting and compelling way. All in all, an excellent read that appeals both to young and adult readers".- Lit Amri for Readers' Favorite

Read an Excerpt

Tommy hoped and prayed he would not be separated from his brother when the wagon came to a stop. Thump. Another boy tossed alongside Tommy like a sack of potatoes. It was Michael from the neighboring farm. Tommy and Michael locked eyes. In fear to another blow, Tommy shook his head when Michael went to speak. Tommy rolled onto his back and let out a deep soundless breath. He looked at the deep blue sky and watched the clouds rush by. No sound escaped Tommy’s lips as they moved in silent prayer, begging for this ordeal to come to an end.

Many others unwillingly joined them along the way. Eight young boys, all thrown on top of each other. The constant creak of the wagon wheels blended with the loud breaths from the boys. The sweat of fear filled Tommy’s nostrils. He turned his nose into his shoulder in an attempt to block out the foul odor.

Soon they arrived at the dockyard, their captors released the ropes around their hands and pushed them toward the boats.

“Welcome home boys,” the biggest of the trio said, with a sweeping motion of his arm towards the large ship past the sand barge.

Not fooled by his smile, a chill rushed down Tommy’s back. They all shuffled toward the row boats and climbed in as told.

Fiction, MG Historical Length: 24 Pages

Release Date: May 20, 2013 ISBN: 1616333855

Book Trailer
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About the Author

Donna McDine is an award-winning children's author, Honorable Mention in the 77th and two Honorable Mentions in the 78th Annual Writer’s Digest Writing Competitions, Literary Classics Silver Award & Seal of Approval Recipient Picture Book Early Reader, Readers Favorite 2012 International Book Awards Honorable Mention, Global eBook Awards Finalist Children’s Picture Book Fiction, and Preditors & Editors Readers Poll 2010 Top Ten Children’s Books ~ The Golden Pathway.

Donna’s recent releases of Powder Monkey and Hockey Agony will be joined by two more books to be published by Guardian Angel Publishing, A Sandy Grave, and Dee and Deb, Off They Go. She writes, moms and is a personal assistant from her home in the historical hamlet Tappan, NY. McDine is a member of the SCBWI, Children’s Literature Network, and Family Reading Partnership.

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