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Light in the Darkness: A Story about How Slaves Learned in Secret Hardcover

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Light in the Darkness: A Story about How Slaves Learned in Secret + Unspoken: A Story From the Underground Railroad + Henry's Freedom Box: A True Story from the Underground Railroad
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Product Details

  • Age Range: 5 - 8 years
  • Grade Level: Kindergarten - 3
  • Lexile Measure: 700L (What's this?)
  • Hardcover: 40 pages
  • Publisher: Jump At The Sun (February 19, 2013)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1423134958
  • ISBN-13: 978-1423134954
  • Product Dimensions: 11 x 8.6 x 0.6 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 11.2 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 5.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (2 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #57,860 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Editorial Reviews

From School Library Journal

Gr 1-4-Illuminating a little-known aspect of American history, Cline-Ransome dramatizes a tale of a "pit school," a hidden and disguised ditch where literate slaves skipped sleep to pass learning on to others at enormous risk. Told from the perspective of Rosa, a girl who makes the dangerous nighttime journey to the lessons with her mother, the story effectively conveys the urgent dedication of the characters to their surreptitious schooling and their belief in the power of literacy. Employing a muted palette of deep browns and blues, Ransome creates rich, full-spread watercolor paintings with radiant glints of moon and lantern light; the illustrations depicting the lessons share a tight focus and intimate perspective that places viewers into the cramped pit with the students. Young Rosa's voice, simple and straightforward, is mostly consistent and has touches of lyricism, and her somewhat-sheltered point of view allows Cline-Ransome to develop the serious threat of the plantation master and roaming patrollers searching for out-of-bound slaves without making the menace too horrifying. Solid text and soft, skillful illustrations combine for a poignant tribute to the power of education and the human spirit.-Robbin E. Friedman, Chappaqua Library, NYα(c) Copyright 2011. Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.

From Booklist

A young slave girl and her mother risk getting a whipping when they sneak out of their living quarters at night to join other slaves who have gathered in a “pit school” to “learn letters,” one “barely big enough for us to stand in.” When the group comes close to being discovered by white patrolmen, the lessons are discontinued, but eventually they resume as the slaves gradually reconvene in spite of the danger. Dramatic, deep-toned, full-page illustrations, mostly dark because of the nighttime setting, skillfully match the vivid, rich language of the text. The expressive faces of the characters shine through the darkness, clearly conveying the senses of determination, fear, and hope which permeate the story. This will surely spark a good number of questions about the condition and treatment of slaves, and why they would go to such extremes to educate themselves. A brief author’s note about pit schools is appended. Grades K-3. --Enos, Randall

More About the Author

Lesa Cline-Ransome is the writer of many picture books. Her picture book biography titles include Satchel Paige, Major Taylor, Champion Cyclist, Young Pele, Soccer's First Star, Helen Keller, The World in Her Heart, Before There was Mozart and Words Set me Free: The Story of Young Frederick Douglass. Other titles are Quilt Alphabet, Quilt Counting and her newest is Light in the Darkness, A Story about How Slaves Learned in Secret.

Originally from Malden, Massachusetts, Lesa has worked as a proofreader, fashion copywriter, publicist, teacher in the New York City Schools, and taught writing for adults. She has a B.F.A. in Merchandising and Management from Pratt Institute and an M.A. in Education from N.Y.U.

She lives in Rhinebeck, New York and with her husband and frequent collaborator, illustrator James Ransome, four children and St. Bernard, Nola.

Visit her website:

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Most Helpful Customer Reviews

By Claude Waterman on March 29, 2013
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
Great story and even as an adult, the message was wonderful. Kids will really benefit from reading this historical account. If you are trying to educate your children on diverse topics, this is a must!
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By Leela on March 25, 2013
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
Love this book! I didn't know anything about pit schools until I read a brief summary about this book in USA Today. I teach second graders but any grade would enjoy learning about slaves' tenacity in learning how to read.
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