From Slave Ship to Freedom Road

From Slave Ship to Freedom Road

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by Julius Lester, Rod Brown
     
 

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Rod Brown and Julius Lester bring history to life in this profoundly moving exploration of the slave experience. From the Middle Passage to the auction block, from the whipping post to the fight for freedom, this book presents not just historical facts, but the raw emotions of the people who lived them. Inspired by Rod Brown's vivid paintings, Julius Lester has

Overview

Rod Brown and Julius Lester bring history to life in this profoundly moving exploration of the slave experience. From the Middle Passage to the auction block, from the whipping post to the fight for freedom, this book presents not just historical facts, but the raw emotions of the people who lived them. Inspired by Rod Brown's vivid paintings, Julius Lester has written a text that places each of us squarely inside the skin of both slave and slaveowner. It will capture the heart of every reader, black or white, young or old.

An ALA Best Book for Young Adults
An NCSS-CBC Notable Children's Trade Book in the Field of Social Studies
A Booklist Editors' Choice Book

Editorial Reviews

Publishers Weekly - Publisher's Weekly
"Brown's 21 paintings provide a cohesive narrative line and have a stunning power of their own, but the confrontational tone of the text may usurp readers' attention," said PW of this volume, which traces the African-American journey from the Middle Passage to post-Civil War emancipation. Ages 8-up. (Dec.) Copyright 1999 Cahners Business Information.
Children's Literature - Susie Wilde
When the writer Julius Lester viewed Rod Brown's "visceral response" to slavery in thirty-six paintings created over a period of seven years, he began to reexamine his feelings. Their book From Slave Ship to Freedom Road opens a dialogue with readers, starting with Lester's prologue which is "begging, pleading, imploring you not to be passive, but to invest soul and imagine yourself into the images." He doesn't really need this invocation. His words and Brown's paintings speak for themselves; they offer a view into the soul of the slavery. The raw power of the emotions in the paintings are increased by the honest and direct questioning in Lester's exercises of the imagination which examine shame, anger and understanding.
Children's Literature - Kathleen Karr
Although packaged like one, this is hardly a picture book for toddlers. Lester has written a series of meditations inspired by Rod Brown's historical painting cycle (a seven-year project.) The pictures are evocative recreations spanning the period from the Middle Passage through Emancipation: black bodies floating in the ocean, waiting for sharks; an angry mammy tending her white charges; images of whipping and lynching. It is strong stuff, and Lester's comments and "imagination exercises" are just as strong. The book can be an excellent learning tool, but needs to be overseen by wise teachers.
Children's Literature - Deborah Zink Roffino
"Heroism has many faces," the author writes. Readers are encouraged to imagine the fear, the evil, the shame of slavery, even the confusion of what it meant to be finally free. Written for children of all colors, this memorable combination of unforgettable text and mesmerizing paintings brings slavery out of history and into the heart.
School Library Journal
Gr 5 UpBrown's 22 brilliant and dramatic paintings of slaves and slavery in America are the attention-riveting basis for this picture-book history. Lester's carefully crafted words are the threads that weave about the pictures, inviting readers, whether black or white, to "invest soul" and to reach "an understanding in the heart" of what Africans endured over the 250 years from the first slave ships to Emancipation. The illustrations, bright with color contrasts and skillfully composed, were previously shown in gallery exhibits. They are effectively displayed against glossy white pages. The portraits of men and women show statuesque, cleanly sculptured bodies, strong in their attitudes, whether laboring, filled with silent anger, or gathered in prayer. Many of the scenes so artfully portrayed are those depicting suffering, from the dreaded Middle Passage to field labor, the slave market, attempts to escape, and the cost in whippings and lynchings. Finally, in the last paintings, the Civil War and the joyful road to freedom mark the end of this darkest period in American history. Lester's words guide readers into the pictures, offering background facts, creating dialogue, or constructing the thoughts of the pictured persons. At intervals, the text breaks to suggest an "Imagination Exercise," or to question readers on how they would act or feel. This is a powerful book, and it is an important one. It asks African Americans to understand the experience and honor the strength of the ancestors who survived these ordeals. It asks whites to understand the price exacted by past domination and cruelty on the fabric of society today.Shirley Wilton, Ocean County College, Toms River, NJ

Product Details

ISBN-13:
9780140566697
Publisher:
Penguin Young Readers Group
Publication date:
12/28/1999
Series:
Pavilion Series
Pages:
48
Sales rank:
513,423
Product dimensions:
11.04(w) x 9.01(h) x 0.11(d)
Lexile:
AD720L (what's this?)
Age Range:
8 - 12 Years

Meet the Author

Julius Lester has published many books of fiction, nonfiction, children's books, and poetry. Among the awards these books have received are the Newbery Honor Medal, American Library Association Notable Book, National Jewish Book Award Finalist, The New York Times Outstanding Book, National Book Critics Circle Award Finalist, Caldecott Honor Book, the Boston Globe-Horn Book Award, and a National Book Award Finalist. His books have been translated into eight languages.

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From Slave Ship to Freedom Road 5 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 1 reviews.
Guest More than 1 year ago
The art and dialogue in this beautiful but heartwrenching book are spectacular. If you read this and still have racism in your heart, you must not be a spiritual person.