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FROM SLAVE SHIP TO FREEDOM ROAD by Julius Lester

FROM SLAVE SHIP TO FREEDOM ROAD

By Julius Lester (Author) , Rod Brown (Illustrator)

Age Range: 10 - 12

Pub Date: Jan. 1st, 1998
ISBN: 0-8037-1893-4
Publisher: Dial

 In a stirring picture book for older readers, Lester (Sam and the Tigers, 1996, etc.) creates meditations on the journey of Africans to slavery, on the lives of people held as slaves, and on runaways, the Civil War, and the meaning of freedom. Although these musings are both impressionistic and personal, Lester, in an introduction, demands that readers participate: ``I found myself addressing you, the reader, begging, pleading, imploring you not to be passive, but to invest soul and imagine yourself into the images.'' ``Imagination Exercise One--For White People'' asks readers to imagine being taken away in a spaceship by people whose skin color they've never seen, to a place where they are given new names and can be maimed or killed. ``Imagination Exercise Two--For African Americans'' asks readers to examine any shame they have about being the descendants of slaves. Each of Lester's deeply personal commentaries is placed opposite one of Brown's paintings, which depict in brilliant colors and sculpturally molded forms the people who were slaves and stops or landmarks on their journey to freedom. This is a teaching book: Those who seek to understand the experience of slavery will find many questions to grapple with, for the text does not flinch from the horrors of slave ships, whippings, or the selling of human flesh. As is true of Tom Feelings's The Middle Passage (1995), this book needs the key of collaboration with caring adults to understand its treasures fully. Readers who make that effort will be amply rewarded. (Picture book/nonfiction. 10-12)