Tag Archives: #WeNeedDiverseBooks

Eliza’s Freedom Road

Eliza’s Freedom Road

Eliza's Freedom Road

Eliza is a slave on a tobacco plantation in Alexandria, Virginia in the 1850s.  Eliza is unusual because she has been taught to read and write. Eliza keeps a diary of her life on the plantation and she is a good storyteller.

Eliza tells about how it felt when her mother was sold away. She tells about how scared she is when she hears Sir’s boots walking toward her. Her words make her experiences feel real while you reading her diary. I felt scared when Eliza felt scared. Just thinking about the sound of the boots, “thump, thump, thump” gives me shivers.

Eliza overhears a conversation about herself before an upcoming slave auction:

Late in the day, a man came to see Sir. When I passed through the parlor I heard him say something to Sir about the price I would fetch. I pretended I did not hear the talk. But I am in so much fear.” page 29

Eliza decides it is time to run. She has a quilt her mother made that has pictures in it. The pictures, a mysterious women called the Conductor and a series of friends help Eliza find her way to freedom on the Underground Railroad. This is a great book if you want to feel like you are right there, hearing and seeing and feeling the same things that Eliza heard and saw and felt. Author: Jerdine Nolen


If you like Eliza’s story here are some more books you might like about escaping slaves, the Underground Railroad, and slave quilts:
Jefferson's Sons Chains Bud Not Buddy Her Stories
Leaving Gee's Bend Show Way Meet Addy Art Against the Odds
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Staff Pick: The Mighty Miss Malone

Staff Pick: The Mighty Miss Malone

The Mighty Miss Malone

Deza Malone is on a journey.  The verbose 12-year old, whom readers first met in Bud, Not Buddy, has lived her entire life in Gary, Indiana, with her mother, father, and 15-year old brother, Jimmie.

A passionate reader, she wants to be just like her teacher, Miss Needham, when she grows up.   But it is 1936 and the Great Depression has forced her father to look for work in Flint, Michigan.  When a month goes by without a letter from him, her mother decides the family should follow him to Flint.

Their trip north takes them through a hobo camp, where Jimmie disappears, bringing even more changes for Deza.  Her mother finds a job in Flint, and Deza faces life in a new city with a new school, new teachers, and new neighbors, all while remaining hopeful that her family will be reunited.
I love Deza’s spunky personality and how she remains true to herself as she dreams of finding that place called Wonderful. Author: Christopher Paul Curtis

Recommended by: Janet Spaulding – Selection

More Staff Picks

If you liked reading about Deza and her family try one of these:
Bud Not Buddy Roll of Thunder Hear My Cry Leaving Gee's Bend Zora and Me
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Kid Review – A Picture Book of Rosa Parks

Kid Review – A Picture Book of Rosa Parks

A Picture Book of Rosa Parks

A biography of the Alabama black woman whose refusal to give up her seat on a bus helped establish the civil rights movement.

Jasmine says:

I love his [David A. Adler] books because one i love mystery and its really funny. The one i really love is cam jansen and the stolen diamonds. i loved it some much that i did it for my book report project. I also loved the rosa park one i even passed the quiz i had on it. Thats how i know i love the book. I hope one day you will read one of his books and you will love it just like me. I hope you enjoy the little thank you for reading have a good day.

Author: David Adler

Jasmine really likes books by David Adler. Here is a link to her favorite Cam Jansen and the Stolen Diamonds, and a few more of his books you might like:
Cam Jansen and the Stolen Diamonds Cam Jansen and the Graduation Day Mystery Mystery Math Bones and the Clown Mix-Up
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Heart and Soul

Heart and Soul

Heart and Soul

Sometimes history can be overwhelming for me. It’s hard to keep the people and places and dates straight. I really like Heart and Soul because the history unfolds like a story. In fact, the book is written like an old lady talking. It’s like listening to your Grandmother explain it.

This is the kind of book that makes you proud to be a part of your country and it doesn’t matter if you are black or white or young or old. Our country is only 236 years old. That’s a baby country. And in that time we have worked through some struggles that could have ended really badly. Instead, we have struggled together to work out our differences and find common ground and build a life together.

This book shows how a country can go from thinking a black person was property to having a black president. It explains how changes were slowly made to help make that happen. It doesn’t say the job is done, but it shows how we got to where we are today. And it has the BEST paintings. Author & Illustrator: Kadir Nelson

If you like reading about the story of America and African Americans try these::
Traveling the Freedom Road Marching for Freedom Miles to Go for Freedom Powerful Words
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Jefferson’s Sons

Jefferson’s Sons

Jefferson's SonsBeverly knows a secret and it’s a big one. It’s really hard not to tell it but he has promised his mama he’ll keep his mouth shut. And Beverly is good at that – keeping his mouth shut – all slaves are good at that. It helps them stay out of trouble.

The secret word rolls around in Beverly’s head though. “Papa.” Even though his Dad is really busy and is gone a lot Beverly lives for when he is around, even though his Dad doesn’t really talk to him much. Beverly can’t call him “Papa” to his face or tell anyone at all who his Dad is, because Beverly’s Dad is Master Jefferson. Thomas Jefferson. Yes, THAT Thomas Jefferson. The one who wrote, “all men are created equal”.

This is the fascinating story of Thomas Jefferson’s children who grew up on Monticello but didn’t live in it. They lived with their Mom in the slave quarters. It isn’t known for sure if this is true, but many scholars think so.

I loved how this story made history more real by putting real people into it. The characters live during a time when slavery was part of life. It’s hard for us to imagine it now. This book reveals a lot about what kind of world that would be – a world where a fair, respected, smart, well-liked man could also own slaves. It’s hard to wrap your head around.

Great, great characters and peek into a complicated piece of history, because even if a man treated his slaves well, they were still slaves. There was still no freedom. The last chapter will put an actual lump in your throat. Author: Kimberly Bradley

Here are some more stories that reveal interesting relationships between free and slave people. These books help us realize that history isn’t just a chain of events, it is about real live people who are hardly ever simple or predictable.
Chains Forge My Name is Phillis Wheatley Mrs. Lincoln's Dressmaker
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