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ALMOST TO FREEDOM by Vaunda Micheaux Nelson


by Vaunda Micheaux Nelson & illustrated by Colin Bootman

Age Range: 6 - 10

Pub Date: Sept. 1st, 2003
ISBN: 1-57505-342-X
Publisher: Carolrhoda

A doll’s-eye view of slavery and escape fails to succeed. Miz Rachel fashioned Sally out of cloth for her little girl, Lindy. Doll and girl spend all their time together in the field working, at the meetings where freedom is discussed, and even when Lindy’s papa is sold “down the river.” Every last familiar plot twist is here: the difficult field work, the cruel overseers, the beating Lindy endures when she is caught writing words in the sand, the harrowing escape, the reunion with Lindy’s papa, who has somehow managed to meet his family on a darkened river road, and the kindly white couple who hides the threesome in a cellar. Dark, expressive paintings accompany the narrative, though the brilliantly white headscarves seem oddly misplaced during the nighttime escape. The dialect fluctuates haphazardly from sentence to sentence losing the voice altogether. The unusual choice of a doll as narrator may appeal to some readers. Reread Deborah Hopkinson’s Under the Quilt of Night (2001) instead. (author’s note, limited glossary) (Picture book. 6-10)