From School Library Journal
Grade 1-5-Kezia belongs to Missus Grace, a widow. Monday is wash day, Tuesday is ironing day, and so on throughout the week, but Sunday is special because the slaves are allowed to go visiting without passes. They call the dirt path that leads downtown "Liberty Street." Kezia's mother sends her to the home of a free black woman who teaches slave children to read and write and makes plans for her daughter to join a group preparing to take the Underground Railroad to Canada. The book ends on a bittersweet note, as the girl begins her journey to freedom, leaving her mother behind to help others. Narrated by Kezia, the story is filled with emotion and suspense. Velasquez's dramatic illustrations make powerful use of light and shadow, shape and composition, and rich colors in this wrenching yet inspirational tale.Anna DeWind Walls, Milwaukee Public Library
Copyright © Reed Business Information, a division of Reed Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved.
PreS-Gr. 3. The anguish of family separation under slavery is at the heart of this moving picture book told in the voice of Kezia, a young girl in Fredericksburg, Virginia, who is helped by her mother to escape to Canada. Velasquez' bold oil paintings show the cruelty of the slave owner's selling Kezia's dad. In contrast are the pictures depicting the supportive ties that give Kezia the strength to attend a secret school and then to wrench herself from her beloved mother and teacher and run to freedom. Along with the personal story, children will be interested in the history that is part of the pictures and explained in a final note, especially the description of the "clothesline telegraph," which made use of a white shirt to signal that it wasn't safe to run and a red one to mean, "Go!" The double-page spread of a red shirt swinging on the line is like a shout of triumph. Hazel RochmanCopyright © American Library Association. All rights reserved