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Under the Freedom Tree Hardcover – January 7, 2014

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Product Details

  • Age Range: 6 - 9 years
  • Grade Level: 1 - 4
  • Hardcover: 32 pages
  • Publisher: Charlesbridge (January 7, 2014)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1580895506
  • ISBN-13: 978-1580895507
  • Product Dimensions: 9 x 0.4 x 11.3 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 13.6 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 5.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (1 customer review)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #442,261 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Editorial Reviews

From School Library Journal

Gr 2–5—A vivid free-verse account of a little-known event during the Civil War. On a night in 1861, three slaves escape from a Confederate Army camp and slip across the water to a Union-held fort. Rather than send them back to their owners, the general declares them "contraband of war" and allows them to stay. This decision brings a flood of other escaped slaves hoping for something better. A makeshift town is created, and gradually the "contrabands" now have a space of their own. The story concludes with the announcement of Lincoln's Emancipation Proclamation and the rejoicing of slaves beneath the Freedom Tree. The concise verse brings a piece of history to life and begs to be read aloud, evoking the names and desperation of those long-ago escapees, while Ladd's full spreads complement the text and give faces to the figures. This simple but unforgettable title would be useful for fleshing out Civil War studies and prompting further discussion of slavery and emancipation. Additional background information is included in the author's note, and the bibliography provides interested readers with more resources and documents. This powerful picture book would likely appeal to readers of Charles R. Smith Jr.'s Brick by Brick (HarperCollins, 2012).—Stephanie Whelan, New York Public Library


Junior Library Guild Selection.

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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful By R. I. Smallwood on February 12, 2014
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
Excellent historical story of an event that few have ever heard about. Well researched, beautifully written in free verse with outstanding illustrations. A wonderful read for elementary children and teachers who will be transported back in time to the end of the Civil War.
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More About the Author

Susan VanHecke, www.SusanVanHecke.com, is an award-winning author of fiction and nonfiction for children and adults.

Susan's books for young people include:

* Esquivel! Space-Age Sound Artist (Charlesbridge, 2016), picture book biography of Mexican bandleader, arranger, and stereo sound pioneer Juan Garcia Esquivel.

* Under the Freedom Tree (Charlesbridge, 2014), a 2014 Junior Library Guild Selection about the contraband slaves of the Civil War. www.UndertheFreedomTree.com

* Raggin' Jazzin' Rockin': A History of American Musical Instrument Makers (Boyds Mills Press, 2011), a 2012 ALA Notable Children's Book. www.RagginJazzinRockin.com

* Rock 'n' Roll Soldier (HarperTeen, 2009), young adult war memoir written with Vietnam veteran Dean Ellis Kohler, foreword by Graham Nash. 2010 Cooperative Children's Book Center pick for Best Biography/Autobiography. www.RocknRollSoldierAMemoir.com

* An Apple Pie for Dinner (Two Lions, 2009), picture book retelling of an English folk tale, illustrated by Carol Baicker-McKee. www.AnApplePieforDinner.com

Susan's books for adults include:

* Roadwork: Rock and Roll Turned Inside Out (Hal Leonard, 2007)/Raising Hell on the Rock 'n' Roll Highway (Omnibus UK, 2009), memoir written with rock photographer Tom Wright, foreword by Pete Townshend of the Who. Of Roadwork, Barnes & Noble Booksellers CEO Steve Riggio said it's "probably the best book on rock & roll ever published."

* Three Steps to Heaven: The Eddie Cochran Story (Hal Leonard, 2003), bio of the rock trailblazer written with his nephew Bobby Cochran. www.ThreeStepstoHeaven.net

* Race with the Devil: Gene Vincent's Life in the Fast Lane (St. Martin's Press, 2000), bio of the rock 'n' roll pioneer, adapted into an award-winning screenplay.

Susan's writing has also appeared in numerous national/international publications, including Old House Journal, Spin, Creem, Goldmine, Kerrang, and Reflex magazines and the Washington Post. For fifteen years she was an arts and entertainment reporter for the Virginian Pilot, the major daily newspaper of southeastern Virginia and northeastern North Carolina. Susan is a certified copyeditor and owner of the editorial services company Susan VanHecke Editorial Solutions, www.SusanVanHeckeEditorial.com.

Susan holds a BFA degree in film and television production from New York University's Tisch School of the Arts and has worked in the fields of publicity, promotion, and advertising. She is a member of the Society of Children's Book Writers and Illustrators and the Editorial Freelancers Association.

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