We started our journey back in January, on Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. Day. We watched a video of Dr. King's "I Have a Dream" speech on YouTube while simultaneously viewing this book. I held it above our laptop screen so that we could see both at the same time. It was powerful. The illustrations in this book were created by various highly acclaimed Black artists known throughout the children's book industry, each illustrating a section of Dr. King's most famous speech. This is a beautiful book.
Night Running is based on a true story of a young boy from Virginia who planned to run away. He was tired of being a slave, and longed to be free. For fear of him making too much noise, his faithful companion Zeus would have to be left behind, but the dog would have none of that. Throughout the escape, Zeus proved himself useful again and again. In the end the two escaped together, making it across the Ohio River to live a free life. The year was 1938. Details about James Smith's life are included in the back of the book.
This is a touching story of a grandmother sharing about her life growing up as a slave along with her brother, their role in the Underground Railroad, and how they eventually, yet separately, became free. Although a piece of realistic fiction, this book is a wonderful way to introduce the Underground Railroad to elementary-aged children, especially with the informative author's note in the back explaining what it was and what the patterns meant on the Freedom Quilts.
Harriet Tubman was a remarkably brave woman, and this is the fictionalized account of her spiritual journey to lead her people to freedom (just as Moses led the Israelites.) As a woman of faith myself, I found it to be an incredibly moving and inspiring story to share with our children. It is gorgeously illustrated by Kadir Nelson and includes information in the back about Harriet's life.
A triumphant story of bravery, this book is based on the real life account of Robert Small's escape to freedom by steering a Confederate ship into Union hands. The length of this book would have me recommend it for upper elementary students, yet our six year old remained attentive. The back of the book contains information about Robert's life from his escape through his death.