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Underground: Finding the Light to Freedom Kindle Edition

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Editorial Reviews

From School Library Journal

Starred Review. Grade 1–3—A stellar introduction to the Underground Railroad, narrated by a group of slaves. Readers experience the fugitives' escape, their long nighttime journey punctuated by meetings with friends and enemies, and their final glorious arrival in a place of freedom. Evans boils the raw emotion of the experience down to the most compressed statements, both mirroring the minimal opportunities for expression during the secret journey and also creating a narrative that invites even the youngest listeners to visit this challenging subject. For this reason, the text may be read as is to preschool audiences, while the abbreviated prose may also generate a rich discussion for older students. Evans writes simply: "The darkness..../We are quiet./The fear./We run." Appropriately, the narration is told from a group perspective, which reflects the broader experience of enslaved African Americans—a theme continued in his full-bleed illustrations of figures cloaked in the anonymity of night. Though subdued in palette until the eruption of color as the figures reach the threshold of freedom, the author's collaged nocturnal paintings shimmer with an arresting luminescence. Two constants leap out from almost every page: the stars above and the bright, fearful eyes of the fugitives. When the travelers at last lift a newborn baby to the rising sun, readers celebrate along with the protagonists.—Jayne Damron, Farmington Community Library, MI
(c) Copyright 2011.  Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.

From Booklist

The darkness. / The escape. / We are quiet. / The fear . . . / We run. / We crawl.� With just two or three words on each double-page spread, the minimalist text is intense in this stirring picture book about a family�s escape from slavery. Dramatic, unframed, mixed-media illustrations, rendered in black lines and dark shades of midnight blue, show a child�s view of fleeing and hiding in the night, when the only light is in the starry sky. Then there is the lantern of a safe house, but also of a slave catcher. Finally, freedom comes at last with the glorious color of the sun�s light, and the art extends the wordplay in an image of a joyful family holding up their own son�a baby boy born in freedom. A long appended note offers more historical context, and young readers can go on from here to other picture-book accounts of families torn apart by slavery and those saved by rescuers on the Underground Railroad. Preschool-Grade 3. --Hazel Rochman

Product Details

  • File Size: 15880 KB
  • Print Length: 32 pages
  • Publisher: Roaring Brook Press; Reprint edition (June 25, 2013)
  • Publication Date: June 25, 2013
  • Sold by: Macmillan
  • Language: English
  • ASIN: B004GHN262
  • Text-to-Speech: Not enabled
  • X-Ray:
  • Word Wise: Not Enabled
  • Lending: Not Enabled
  • Enhanced Typesetting: Not Enabled
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #1,142,892 Paid in Kindle Store (See Top 100 Paid in Kindle Store)
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More About the Author

Shane Evans is a creative force. He comfortably wears titles
that include artist, author, illustrator, musician, songwriter,
and founder of Dream Studio, a community art space in Kansas
City, Missouri, where he resides. He has more than 30 books
to his credit as an illustrator, including Olu's Dream, which he
also authored. Many of the books have been featured in the
media such as The Oprah Winfrey Show, The Today Show,
Reading Rainbow, and Late Night with David Letterman. Five
of his books are scheduled for publication in 2010 including
"Chocolate Me" with actor Taye Diggs, "My Brother Charlie"
with actor Holly Robinson Peete, and "Black Jack," with
Coretta Scott King Award winning author Charles Smith. His
portfolio includes the "Shanna Show" (now a Disney animated
short along with the spinoff "Shane's Kindergarten
Countdown"). In addition, he has exhibited, lectured, and
developed art programs for youth in Burkina Faso, Botswana,
Brazil, China, France, Japan, Lesotho, and across the United
States. You can visit him online www.olusdream.com.

Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

5 of 5 people found the following review helpful By Yana V. Rodgers on April 2, 2011
Format: Hardcover
A family living in the bonds of slavery decides to make the dangerous attempt to find freedom. Along the way they find safe havens and friends of the Underground Railroad. The family members experience fear and fatigue along the way, but they keep going until they can wake up free to decide their own destinies.

With its sparse text, this picture book relies more on striking images to communicate to young readers the risks that enslaved people took to escape from bondage, and the joys they experienced upon first reaching a free state. A brief author's note provides more information about the Underground Railroad, which parents and teachers can use to talk with young learners about the history of slavery in the United States.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful By Maria Rendon on May 24, 2012
Format: Hardcover
Underground by Shane W. Evans is a picture book about the underground railroad.

With very few words and powerful imagery Evans does a beautiful job portraying

the fear of a family as they sneak through the night in search for freedom. The reader

is taken through the night with this family as they make their journey.

The illustrations throughout the book are very dark until the family reach freedom and see the sun rise again.

This book is ideal for children from pre-k to third grade.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful By Marisa on May 28, 2012
Format: Hardcover
Underground is a very moving picture book with minimal words. The few words that are in the book have strong meaning which hold a deeper connection with the given illustrations. It shows how many people of color suffered during slavery just to have some kind of freedom. This book should be used in classroom when history and slavery is introduces. Since there are minimal words teachers can have discussions of how some of these people may have felt when searching for freedom. The book Underground can be used to help young children understand the concept of the Underground Railroad that was developed to help slaves make their freedom journey a little easier. Author Shane W. Evans did a wonderful job creating and illustrating this book about historical events that are still learned about today.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful By My2Cents VINE VOICE on March 24, 2012
Format: Hardcover
Underground is one family's story of their quest to seek a better life -- a life of "freedom". The story paints a vivid picture, with very few words, about the fear and exhaustion the family faced as they tried to escape from slavery, as well as the kindness of some who helped them along the way.

This would be a great book to introduce young children to the subject of "slavery". The illustrations are very dark in color, as the family begins their escape at night. As the family progresses along their journey toward freedom, the illustrations become brighter in color until the family and the reader can finally see the sun, lifting a baby in the process toward the sky in celebration.

Recommended for Pre-school - grade 3 - (5/5 stars)
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful By MsAlyssa on June 1, 2012
Format: Hardcover
This book can be used as an introduction of the unit Underground Railroad and slavery. Underground is a picture book with minimal text which adds value to the illustrations. Practically through the whole book the illustrator, Evans, uses all the dark colors to represent the dark journey one family portrayed. It was important for each page to illustrate the characters' actions and emotion to understand what is happening in the story. I do not recommend this book to early readers because it is important for readers to know the insight of this misfortunate historical happening.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful By Ana Lado on April 15, 2012
Format: Hardcover
The text is poetically spartan, "The escape. / We are quiet. / We run. / We crawl." It lends itself to teaching English and Social Studies to even the earliest level of ELL. They can understanding it and are able to demonstrate their understanding through reenacting the sequential scenes and reciting the book. I would use it with beginner ELLs of any age.
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Format: Hardcover
Underground by Shane Evans follows a family in their grueling journey to freedom. The family pads barefoot through the woods and crawls on hands and knees towards safety. They run into kind helpers that aid them with temporary shelter and necessities until they continue on their journey. The family hides from those who hunt them and dream of the day they will be able to choose their own destiny. Finally, freedom is found and the family has their bravery, the help of kind strangers, and the Underground Railroad to thank for it. This book is a great way to introduce the Underground Railroad to young students and explain why slaves fled north for protection. The illustrations in this book are magical and inviting drawing you in to the struggles faced by runaway slaves.
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Format: Hardcover
This is a whole different way of really looking at what the underground railroad consisted of. We typically read about it in history books but don't usually get a chance to see through pictures. I was really taken back by the illustrations and the 2 words, if any, on the pages. The illustrations are dark and show the fear, despair, and danger involved but the two words chosen are two strong words that make a statement showing determination and strength within the slaves. The story of thousands of slaves is told very well in this book and I think many people can appreciate it.
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