Author: Evans, Shane
The relaying of a pivotal moment in American history, shown through one slave family's escape to the North, and freedom on the Underground Railroad.
Coretta Scott King Illustrator Award, 2012
Common Core Standards
Grade K → Reading → RI Informational Text → K.RI Key Ideas & Details
Grade K → Reading → RI Informational Text → K.RI Craft & Structure
Grade K → Reading → RI Informational Text → K.RI Integration of Knowledge & Ideas
Grade K → Reading → RI Informational Text → K.RI Range of Reading & Level of Text Complexity
Grade K → Reading → RI Informational Text → Texts Illustrating the Complexity, Quality, & Rang
Grade 1 → Reading → RL Reading Literature → 1.RL Craft & Structure
Grade 1 → Reading → RI Informational Text → 1.RI Key Ideas & Details
Grade 1 → Reading → RI Informational Text → 1.RI Craft & Structure
Grade 1 → Reading → RI Informational Text → 1.RI Integration of Knowledge & Ideas
Grade 1 → Reading → RI Informational Text → Texts Illustrating the Complexity, Quality, & Rang
Grade 1 → Reading → CCR - College & Career Readiness Anchor Standards
Grade 1 → Reading → RI Informational Text → 1.RI Range of Reading & Level of Text Complexity
Grade 2 → Reading → RI Informational Text → 2.RI Key Ideas & Details
Grade 2 → Reading → RI Informational Text → 2.RI Craft & Structure
Grade 2 → Reading → RI Informational Text → 2.RI Integration of Knowledge & Ideas
Grade 2 → Reading → RI Informational Text → 2.RI Range of Reading & Level of Text Complexity
Grade 2 → Reading → RI Informational Text → Texts Illustrating the Complexity, Quality, & Rang
Grade 2 → Reading → CCR College & Career Readiness Anchor Standards fo
Kirkus Reviews (+) (11/15/10)
School Library Journal (+) (01/01/11)
The Bulletin of the Center for Children's Books (+) (02/11)
The Hornbook (01/11)
Full Text Reviews:
School Library Journal - 01/01/2011 Gr 1–3—A stellar introduction to the Underground Railroad, narrated by a group of slaves. Readers experience the fugitives' escape, their long nighttime journey punctuated by meetings with friends and enemies, and their final glorious arrival in a place of freedom. Evans boils the raw emotion of the experience down to the most compressed statements, both mirroring the minimal opportunities for expression during the secret journey and also creating a narrative that invites even the youngest listeners to visit this challenging subject. For this reason, the text may be read as is to preschool audiences, while the abbreviated prose may also generate a rich discussion for older students. Evans writes simply: "The darkness..../We are quiet./The fear./We run." Appropriately, the narration is told from a group perspective, which reflects the broader experience of enslaved African Americans—a theme continued in his full-bleed illustrations of figures cloaked in the anonymity of night. Though subdued in palette until the eruption of color as the figures reach the threshold of freedom, the author's collaged nocturnal paintings shimmer with an arresting luminescence. Two constants leap out from almost every page: the stars above and the bright, fearful eyes of the fugitives. When the travelers at last lift a newborn baby to the rising sun, readers celebrate along with the protagonists.—Jayne Damron, Farmington Community Library, MI - Copyright 2011 Publishers Weekly, Library Journal and/or School Library Journal used with permission.
Bulletin for the Center... - 02/01/2011 In this artistic treatment of the Underground Railroad, Evans translates the experience of a family’s nocturnal escape from slavery into a sequence of quick, tersely texted yet vivid glimpses. Opening with “The darkness.// The escape.// We are quiet,” the book then proceeds to the dangerous journey (“Others help.// Some don’t make it”) and finally the near-miraculous attainment of safety (“The light.// Freedom. I am free. He is free. She is free. We are free”). The impressionistic bursts require a readership that’s either context-savvy or adult-assisted enough to understand the implications, but it’s a breathless and impressive summation of experience, and the sequential fragmented images suggest memories in their discrete yet resonant assembly. The mixed-media illustrations are the main focus here, and they’re luminous and haunting. The tension between dark and light visually pulses through the spreads: the whites of the escaping family’s eyes gleam in cut-paper collage, the slender crescent of a moon shines overhead, and the amber glow from a window or a searcher’s torch stands out with startling distinction in scenes otherwise constituted almost entirely from shadowy blues and blacks. Yet that light is also what they’re running toward, with the coming of the sunrise a metaphorical as well as a literal dawning that allows the family finally to stand up, free and freely seen, amid its rays. Use this to complement a factual history of the Underground Railroad to give audiences a compelling emotional taste of the experience of escaping to a new life, or for young readers already familiar with the facts to get an artistic and emotional impression of the experience. DS - Copyright 2011 The Board of Trustees of the University of Illinois.
Booklist - 02/01/2011 “The darkness. / The escape. / We are quiet. / The fear . . . / We run. / We crawl.” With just two or three words on each double-page spread, the minimalist text is intense in this stirring picture book about a family’s escape from slavery. Dramatic, unframed, mixed-media illustrations, rendered in black lines and dark shades of midnight blue, show a child’s view of fleeing and hiding in the night, when the only light is in the starry sky. Then there is the lantern of a safe house, but also of a slave catcher. Finally, freedom comes at last with the glorious color of the sun’s light, and the art extends the wordplay in an image of a joyful family holding up their own son—a baby boy born in freedom. A long appended note offers more historical context, and young readers can go on from here to other picture-book accounts of families torn apart by slavery and those saved by rescuers on the Underground Railroad. - Copyright 2011 Booklist.