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True North: A Novel of the Underground Railroad
     

True North: A Novel of the Underground Railroad

4.5 11
by Kathryn Lasky
 

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Award-winning author Kathryn Lasky's hopeful and heartwarming tale of friendship is being reissued in a new paperback format!

It's 1858, and fourteen-year-old Lucy Bradford lives in Boston and is nothing like her older sisters. Instead of making a fuss along with everyone else over big sister Iris's wedding, she'd rather be with her grandfather aboard his

Overview


Award-winning author Kathryn Lasky's hopeful and heartwarming tale of friendship is being reissued in a new paperback format!

It's 1858, and fourteen-year-old Lucy Bradford lives in Boston and is nothing like her older sisters. Instead of making a fuss along with everyone else over big sister Iris's wedding, she'd rather be with her grandfather aboard his sailboat or helping him with his abolitionist efforts.
Hundreds of miles south, a girl named Afrika is fleeing from a cruel world, with the North Star as her guide. Afrika has known lifetimes of hardship and brutality, though she's only Lucy's age. And she's willing to face death for a chance at freedom.

Editorial Reviews

Publishers Weekly - Publisher's Weekly
Lasky (The Night Journey) again combines suspenseful fiction with history as she intersects the lives of two 19th-century adolescent girls: Afrika, a run-away slave from a Virginia plantation, and Lucy, a restless young socialite from Boston. While Afrika travels the Underground Railroad, dodging slave catchers and their hounds, Lucy prepares for her sister's upcoming wedding to a prominent New Yorker even though she would rather be helping her grandfather with his abolitionist efforts. The paths of the two girls converge when Lucy discovers Afrika hiding in her grandfather's house after "Pap" has died from a stroke. Together, the two girls embark on a dangerous journey to the Canadian border. Both Afrika and Lucy are, from the beginning, admirable, likable heroines, but the true colors of other characters are not revealed until long after the girls' daring trip. Lasky clearly illustrates the tyranny of slave masters, the support of slave labor in the North, the restrictions placed on 19th-century women and the philosophies of such revolutionaries as Robert Gould Shaw, Abigail Adams and Ralph Waldo Emerson (each of whom plays a minor role in this riveting drama). Telling her story with sensitivity and flair, the author amply fulfills the goal she states in an afterword: to write "within the structures of logic and judicious imagination." Ages 12-up. (Sept.)
Children's Literature - Kathleen Karr
Lasky tells a good story: well researched, beautifully written, and excitingly plotted. This time she's taken on the Underground Railroad through the eyes of her two protagonists-Afrika, a young slave actually on the run, and Lucy Bradford, the blue-blooded daughter of an old Boston family. As their stories intertwine, we see different kinds of valor and different kinds of knowledge being learned. Lasky portrays Afrika at the gut level, burying her "moon baby" and getting on with saving her own life. The more sheltered Lucy has to learn other skills to survive within her constricting world. After reading True North, it's hard to imagine how else the story could be told. Lasky has captured the political milieu, the attitudes, the feelings so well.
Children's Literature - Jan Lieberman
From January 1858 to June 1858, the slave known as Afrika and the uppercrust Bostonian 14-year-old called Lucy are on a collision course. Afrika's existence is fraught with danger as she attempts to get from one "safe" home to another in the underground railroad, while Lucy is enjoying life with her dear grandfather and preparing for her sister's wedding. Before his death, Lucy learns her grandfather has been helping slaves escape. Her destiny is inextricably linked to the abolitionists cause and the escaped slave, Afrika. This is a riveting account of these dangerous times when good people were willing to break the law of the land for the cause of freedom.
The ALAN Review - Connie S. Zitlow
It is 1858 and two young women are guided by the North Star: 14-year-old Lucy as she sails in Boston Harbor with her beloved grandfather "Pap" and Afrika as she runs to freedom. Before they meet unexpectedly in an Underground Railroad station, their contrsting stories are told in Lasky's intriguing adventure that blends fictitious and actual persons and historical events. Having been sexually exploited by her master, Afrika carries her dying baby as she is sent on her way by Harriet Tubman. Bored with the planning and social events surrounding her sister's wedding and the disgusting beaus of her other sisters, Lucy prefers to be bird-watching or sailing with Pap, who she later discovers is an abolitionist. Surrounded by anti- and pro-slavery factions, Lucy observes mysterious events in the houses and alleys of Beacon Street while Afrika faces the grim realities of survival. Even though not all circumstances will be believable to some readers, Lasky has written another appealing story, as in her book Beyond the Burning Time, that brings to life intelligent and tough female protagonists during a complex and often-sanitized time in history. She has blended careful research with knowledge of the setting around her Cambridge home in a book recommended for middle and high school readers.
VOYA - Ann Welton
In this gripping novel, which concerns the operation of the Underground Railroad in the years immediately preceding the Civil War, two young girls, the well-heeled Lucy Bradford and Afrika, an escaped slave, come together in a common concern for freedom. Afrika has escaped from a plantation in Virginia. Originally part of a group led by Harriet Tubman, she stays behind to bury the infant she has delivered prematurely. Then she makes her way north alone, guided by the North Star. Lucy has lived a privileged life in Boston, but has always felt outcast due to her lack of interest in ladylike pursuits. Her best friend is her grandfather. When he dies, she carries on in his steps, acting as a stationmaster for the Underground Railroad. It is in this capacity that she meets and aids Afrika in her escape to Canada. Frank discussions of the brutality of slavery and of northern businesses interest in keeping the slave economy of the South strong form a solid backdrop for a well-plotted, readable tale. The characterization is competent, though secondary characters lack depth. The settings, both on the northward road from Virginia and in Boston, are fully realized and do much to help explain the tenor of the time. Boston society and investment in slavery is especially well-treated. This is a good companion book for Jennifer Armstrong's compelling Steal Away (Orchard, 1992), which deals with the same issues. VOYA Codes: 4Q 3P M J (Better than most, marred only by occasional lapses, Will appeal with pushing, Middle School-defined as grades 6 to 8 and Junior High-defined as grades 7 to 9).
School Library Journal
Gr 6-9-An excellent work of historical fiction, carefully researched and poignantly told. In Virginia's Great Dismal Swamp in 1858, 14-year-old Afrika defies Harriet Tubman and chooses to stay with her dying newborn baby while the others continue to travel north. Afterwards, she resumes her flight from slavery to freedom alone. Meanwhile, Lucy Bradford of Boston finds the hoopla surrounding her older sister's wedding a total bore. She looks for some excitement and finds more than she bargained for when she discovers the young slave hiding in her grandfather's house. Suddenly, Lucy's predictable life is turned upside down as she helps the girl continue north. After Afrika reaches the safety of Canada and Lucy returns home, the two write to one another regularly. Finally, five decades later, Lucy welcomes Afrika to her Boston home. The two main characters are resilient, appealing, and complex. As the story switches back and forth from one to the other, the inevitability of their encounter and readers' curiosity about the circumstances under which this meeting will occur create a page-turning scenario. The grim realities of slavery are unforgettably revealed through Afrika, and the contrast between her life and Lucy's is starkly and effectively conveyed. The detailed settings add to the authenticity of the telling. Young people who have enjoyed Jennifer Armstrong's Steal Away (Orchard, 1992) will find Lasky's novel another thought-provoking look at this tumultuous period in U.S. history.-Carol Schene, Taunton Public Schools, MA
Kirkus Reviews
A rousing good story and two strong female protagonists make this novel of the Underground Railroad an energetic work of historical fiction.

Juxtaposed with the story of Afrika, a slave escaping to Canada via the hidden network, is the story of Lucy, seeking freedom from the tyranny of her privileged but stifling upbringing in 19th-century Boston society. As Afrika gains ground through a series of suspenseful incidents and near misses, Lucy discovers her abolitionist grandfather's secret and finds herself coming to terms with her own feelings about slavery. Alternating chapters of the girls' separate stories skillfully intersect when Afrika appears in the study of Lucy's grandfather, hidden inside a clock, paving the way for a dramatic and satisfying ending. The two adolescent girls, so full of passion and will, so full of fire, give this volume its verve. Lucy and Afrika are vivacious fictional heroines striving against a backdrop of actual events and real players; they reveal underlying truths in the sad histories of many a slave.

Product Details

ISBN-13:
9780545088022
Publisher:
Scholastic, Inc.
Publication date:
01/01/2009
Pages:
288
Product dimensions:
5.20(w) x 7.50(h) x 0.90(d)
Age Range:
8 - 12 Years

Meet the Author


Kathryn Lasky is the Newbery Honor-winning author of over one hundred books for children and young adults. Her beloved Guardians of Ga’Hoole fantasy series has sold more than 4 million copies, and she is the author of the Daughters of the Sea series, the Wolves of the Beyond series, as well as A TIME FOR COURAGE and other Dear America titles. Kathryn has also written a number of critically acclaimed nonfiction titles, such as BEYOND THE BURNING TIME and TRUE NORTH. She lives with her husband in Cambridge, MA.

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True North : A Novel of the Underground Railroad 4.5 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 11 reviews.
Guest More than 1 year ago
omg! this book rocked my socks and it will rock yours too! no actually it will make u jump out of your socks! i love this book! i felt as if i couild relate to the characters. i read this book for a school project thinking it was goin to be really stupid! but i loved it!
Guest More than 1 year ago
I read this book five years ago, and many scenes remain strongly in my memory. I found it at the book section of Target, so my expectations were low. I loved the story so incredibly much that I made my mother read it as well.
Guest More than 1 year ago
Cival War times were among the hardest for Americans and this book helped me to understand the trials and tribulations of these times. Even though I had a hard time getting interested in this book, I definatly enjoyed it in the en
Guest More than 1 year ago
I read True North for a book report and I really enjoyed it. I think Kathyrn Lasky did a great job of intertwining the story so that you would not make someone confused. The book seemed very real.
Guest More than 1 year ago
True North is a really great book. It was good how Kathryn Laskey described how Lucy didn't know about the Underground Railroad but learned and helped. I was surprised when Lucy decided to travel with Afrika to Canada, but it was a good ending to Afrika's travels. The descriptions of Afrika's experiances were very good; I felt as if I was almost there with her. Kathryn Laskey is an amazing author, and I know I will be reading more of her books in the future.
Guest More than 1 year ago
My personal impression of the book True North is of great respect. The stories of two girls from completely diverse lifestyles coming together to accomplish the same dream, freedom. Of course their freedom is different. It truly shows that no matter race, color, or characteristics, we can get along, and more, help each other. Also, the author makes it easy to relate situations in the story to today. Plus, she created this extreme story and made it historically accurate with real people whom existed, but did not go through this experience. Another part of this story I enjoyed would be when Afrika, the escaping slave, went through the Underground Railroad, which was depicted and described so well I could nearly envision how it would have been like. Two thumbs up True North.
Guest More than 1 year ago
My personal impression of True North is of great respect. The story of two girls from completely diverse lifestyles coming together to accomplish one dream, freedom. Of course their frredom is different. It truly shows that no matter race, color, and characteristics, we can get along, and more, help each other. Also, the author makes it easy to relate to situations in the story to today. Plus, she created this extreme story and made it historically accurate with real people whom existed, but did not go through this experiance. Another part of this story I enjoyed would be when Afrika ( the escaping slave ) went through the underground railroad, which was depicted and subsribed so well, I could nearly envision what it would be like. Two thumbs up, True North
Guest More than 1 year ago
True North is a very educational book. I gave it to my daughter to read because it was so good. I felt that it was importnat for her to see how things have changed since the more unsophisticated times. Both I and my daughter loved this book.
Guest More than 1 year ago
In True North, I loved how Afrika was always facing new problems, and she always came up with a creative solution. One example of her creativity is when the drunken men took her. She thinks of giving them the poisonous bread that was made for the dogs. That was sooo creative. True North is an over all great book.
Guest More than 1 year ago
This is an awesome book. Expecually if you are into the stories of slaves and the Underground Railroad!
Guest More than 1 year ago
Great the whole way through and had an excellent ending. Anyone who is interested in the 1850s should read it.