Wednesday, February 25, 2015

TBR Pile: If You Traveled on the Underground Railroad by Ellen Levine; illustrated by Larry Johnson


If you traveled on the Underground Railroad

--Where was the safest place to go?
--Would you wear a disguise?
--What would you do when you were free?

This book tells you what it was like to be a slave trying to escape to freedom on the Underground Railroad.


Paperback, 64 pages
Published February 1st 1993 by Scholastic Paperbacks

Why I Want to Read This:

Like all the other books in this series, this title helps introduce a sensitive topic to students or curious readers in a way that helps them empathize with those who endured this tragic time period. I remember staying home from school one day in middle school to read The House of Dies Drear by Virginia Hamilton, a book that had a profound impact on my growing sense of what the history of our nation means.

Novels like that one and, of course, Uncle Tom's Cabin drove home to me the struggle that many endured. Pairing this more simple text with a more difficult one would be a great way to introduce the topic and generate positive, problem-solving discussion between students of varying backgrounds.

The underground railroad itself holds an element of mystery that automatically generates student interest in the topic, no matter which side of the railroad their family may have been involved in during this time period.

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