Wednesday, February 17, 2010

Black History Month - a review

In honor of Black History Month I have reviewed this excellent award winning title about a little slave girl, her doll, and the Underground Railroad.

Almost to Freedom
Vaunda Micheaux Nelson
Colin Bootman
Picture Book
Ages 5 to 8
Lerner, 2003, 9781575053424
  Sally is a homemade rag doll. She doesn’t have any hair, and she isn’t glamorous, but she wears a pretty bandana and has a lovingly embroidered face. Sally was made for Lindy, a little slave girl living on a plantation in Virginia, and from the day Sally is put in Lindy’s arms, the doll and the little girl are inseparable. Sally is with Lindy when the little girl is working under the hot sun in the cotton fields. She is also there when the grownups are talking about Freedom. Lindy - and Sally - learn that the only way to get Freedom is to “run away” to a place that the grownups call “North.”
   At first Lindy is not sure why Freedom is such a good thing, but after she is cruelly whipped by the overseer for wanting to know how to spell her name, Lindy comes to understand that Freedom truly is something worth risking everything to get.
   One night Lindy is woken up when it is still dark and she, Sally, and Lindy’s mama, leave the plantation forever. They are off to find Freedom in the North.
   In this singular picture book, children will get to see what it was like to be a runaway slave through the sewn on eyes of a little rag doll. They will see what it was like to travel along the Underground Railroad, and come to appreciate the dangers the slaves faced.
   At the back of the book, the author provides her readers with more information about the Underground Railroad, and she also explains where the inspiration for her story came from.
   This title was one of the 2004 Coretta Scott King Illustrator Honor books.


Aaron Mead said...

This sounds like a great book. Thanks for the review. I'll plan to check it out.

Another one in this vein is Moses: When Harriet Tubman Led Her People to Freedom, by Carole Boston Weatherford and Kadir Nelson. This book won a Coretta Scott King Award (for illustrations, in 2007), and was also a Caldecott Honor book (2007). The illustrations are incredible, and it also tells the story of Tubman and the underground railroad in an accessible way for children in the 6-8 years category.

Thanks again for your blog. I'm enjoying it!

Marya Jansen-Gruber said...

I read another great Black History Month title today that I will be posting shortly. I think you will enjoy it.