Freehand Resources to download

  • Northern New York, 1804
    This map of Northern New York was made less than a decade before our story takes place.
  • Brown's initial report
    This copy of Brown's initial letter to the Governor of New York with a brief report of the battle was published in the Plattsburgh Republican, nearly two weeks after it was sent.
  • Report of the Battle
    This more complete report on the battle appeared the following week in the Republican.
  • War of 1812 Timeline
    This timeline contains the major events of the war, with emphasis on those that occurred in the Northern theater. Events linked to the story "Freehand" are shown in white.

About Mike Peterson

  • Author and editor Mike Peterson has worked with students and teachers since 1993, creating educational materials that are both engaging and educationally sound. He has given workshops for educators on local, regional, state and national levels, has had articles on educational topics published in a variety of publications, and has won international awards for his youth and community programs. His serial stories have appeared in newspapers throughout the United States as well as in Canada, Australia, New Zealand and Bermuda. He has also been a newspaper reporter and editor, radio talk show host, magazine writer and advertising professional.

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Hi Mr.Peterson, I'm Margaret F. from Lowville Academey. You are a really good author and use great descriptions when describing your characters. I have a question:Why did you chose to write during the setting thet you did.I was also wondering what advice you would give to young writers like me and my peers.Please reply back as soon as possible!Thanks.

Choosing the setting was easy: It's the 200th anniversary of the War of 1812, and a lot of important events took place in New York. You'll see a lot of things happening to celebrate the anniversary, and this is one of them!

My best advice is that writers should write, but also that you should read so you see a lot of ways to tell stories, and also so that you learn a lot of different things that will help you become a better storyteller.

I like the story Freehand. Great Job!

Mr. Perterson,
What made you write this chapter that Caleb runs away? That was a great story, now I can't wait to read chapter 4.
~ Thanks

Mr. Peterson, I loved the first four chapters of Freehand! What did you love most about writing Freehand? You have very discriptive writing. In K.I.D.S. class we are writing essays. Would you have any advice on a beginning sentence, or words that helps hook readers?

To Mr. peterson,

Why did Alex want to go with the troops?After all his father doesn`t beat him, he beats Caleb.

Lydia B. @ Lacs

Mr. Peterson,
I'm Jenny S. from LACS. I have a few questions for you. I was wondering why Caleb's stepdad was so mean. Why doesn't Caleb's mom do anything? I hope to read your answers soon.

Hi Mr. Peterson, I'm Sierra L. from Lowville.I really love your story so far! Why did you want the soldiers to like Caleb's mother so much? Why did you want Corpral Daley to be so interested in the store and Caleb's mom and step-dad?

Those are all good questions and, of course, some of them are "keep reading and see!" but I think it's worth thinking about Caleb's mother a little. She's a very nice lady and I think the soldiers are homesick and miss their mothers and wives, so they like the way she takes care of them and they like to try to be kind to her, too.

They also may feel sorry for her, just like they feel sorry for Caleb. In those days, it would be hard for a woman to be widowed and try to carry on by herself with a small boy, running a business. Marrying Dan probably seemed like a way to make things work, even though he's not a very pleasant person.

They can't do much to help her, but they're doing what they can to help Caleb, and she may feel better knowing he's out of the way -- though I suppose having him go off to war isn't exactly what she might have chosen!!!

(And I kind of wonder if maybe Corporal Daley had a rough childhood himself, and maybe that's why he cares so much!)


I am Kelsie O. from LACS.So far, I love you work, you are very talented. I am just wondering, why does McKenzie only beat Caleb, not Alex? Is it because Caleb soes not like to work in the store and wants to be an artist? Please write back soon!

I like this chapter why did caleb go with the troops

Kelsie, if you look at my note in the comments in the last chapter, you might understand better. But Alex is one of those guys who knows how to get away with things. Maybe you know someone like that!

And Mike, which would you rather do: Go have an adventure, or stay home and get whipped???

Hi Mr.Peterson i was wondering why doesn't Calebs mom do any thing? And If you wer Caleb What would you do if you were beat just for drawing?

Skye, it might have been hard to Caleb's mother to do very much. Women didn't have a lot of rights back then.

And if I were Caleb, I'd have done just what Caleb is about to do!

Why did you have Caleb run away?

Hello Mr Perterson.
What gave you the idea to wirte the story " Free Hand" ? Its a great story. Can't wait to read chapter 6. We read this story in Reading class! Every week we read a chapter.

Dear,Mr.Peterson,I loved the first few chapters of Free Hand.Also my question for you is what gave you the idea to write the chapters?I will enjoy reading the next chapters the story has kept me hanging.

I wanted to write a story about the War of 1812 with a kid in it so that kids would enjoy reading about it and learning a little history. We agreed it should have nine chapters and how long each one should be. Then I had to make up a story that would fit into that many chapters that were that long!

I am suprised that the soliders stood up for Caleb and have him not do his chores.

Aden, I like the soldiers. They're tough guys, but they know that there's a difference between being tough and being mean. A real "tough guy" doesn't have to be mean about it, and there's no excuse for the way Dan acts. I think the soldiers knew that he wasn't going to stand up to them -- he only beats little boys!!!

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