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Aunt Harriet's Underground Railroad in the Sky Paperback – December 12, 1995

4.8 out of 5 stars 23 customer reviews

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Editorial Reviews

From Publishers Weekly

Characters from Tar Beach once again fly-this time in a fantastical sky train run by Harriet Tubman that traces a route on the Underground Railroad. Ages 4-9.
Copyright 1995 Reed Business Information, Inc.

From School Library Journal

Grade 2 Up-- Using the symbolic motif of flying as she did in Tar Beach (Crown, 1991), Ringgold reintroduces Cassie and Be Be Lightfoot, who soar above oceans that look like cups of tea and meet a ``ramshackled train in the sky'' whose conductor is Harriet Tubman. Aunt Harriet, as she is called, explains that the railroad in the sky retraces her route to freedom every 100 years. Meanwhile, Be Be jumps on board. Cassie, who misses the train, must follow, living the slave existence, always one step behind, hoping to rejoin her brother in Canada. What follows is a compelling journey in which the author masterfully integrates fantasy and historical fact in such a way that readers join Cassie in experiencing the fear and the mystery of such a trip. The spare but eloquent text conveys much information, and the artist's flat, primitive illustrations in acrylic on canvas paper lend power and symbolism to one of the most dramatic chapters in American history. Everywhere, Cassie finds clues leading her to Be Be. Everywhere, she receives whispered directions from Aunt Harriet that lead her forward. Everywhere, the threat of capture lurks in the background in the form of the sinister chalkwhite faces of bounty hunters. Although adults may have difficulty with literal interpretation, children with only basic background will recognize that the story is both fact and fantasy--history and allegory. With gripping immediacy, Ringgold puts readers in the story on the side of the victims, insuring, through powerful words and images, ``that we will never forget the cost of freedom.'' Groundbreaking! --Kate McClelland, Perrot Memorial Library, Greenwich, CT
Copyright 1992 Reed Business Information, Inc. --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.
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Product Details

  • Age Range: 3 - 7 years
  • Grade Level: Preschool - 2
  • Lexile Measure: 760L (What's this?)
  • Paperback: 32 pages
  • Publisher: Dragonfly Books; Dragonfly Books ed edition (December 12, 1995)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 9780517885437
  • ISBN-13: 978-0517885437
  • ASIN: 0517885433
  • Product Dimensions: 9.4 x 0.2 x 12 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 7.2 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.8 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (23 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #72,858 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

Format: Paperback
"One day, my brother Be Be and I were flying among the stars, way way up, so far up the mountains looked like pieces of rock candy and the oceans like tiny cups of tea. We came across an old ramshackled train in the sky." So begins Cassie Louise Lightfoot's tale of meeting "conductor" Harriet Tubman and riding the underground railroad to Canada. Based on Harriet Tubman's account of a dream she had while very sick, of flying to freedom and enhanced with historical facts and imagination, Faith Ringgold has authored a superb story that transports youngsters back to the slave holding plantations of the south, over one hundred years ago, and then sends them on a terrifying, yet exhilarating journey to freedom. Her engaging poetic text, full of imagery and magic, is complemented by her bold, expressive, evocative illustrations and together, word and art bring this emotional story to life. With additional biographical notes and map, tracing the underground railroad routes, included to augment lessons and discussions, Aunt Harriet's Underground Railroad In The Sky is a masterpiece youngsters 6-10 shouldn't miss and a wonderful addition to all home libraries.
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Format: Paperback
This book tells of two children and their advernture traveling the underground railroad to Canada to freedom. Aunt Harriet directs these two to each stop and the children meet many interesting people and see many new things. Though the children are seperated at the beginning, they keep in contact through notes left along the way. the children experience the feelings of what the slaves went through on their trip to freedom.
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By A Customer on March 4, 2002
Format: Paperback
This book is fantastic - its illustrations are haunting and lovely, and the story is magical and historical at the same time. Faith Ringgold's approach makes the history simpler for children to understand while not undermining the depth and horror of slavery in America. I highly recommend it to any parent.
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Format: Paperback
This well written children's book recounts the story of slavery in an easy to understand langugage with corresponding pictures. The pictures are primitively done with paint and canvas, but are detailed and represent drawings from that time period. The overall story draws in historical aspects of a time period using actual information that every child shoud be aware of. Aunt Harriet's Underground Railroad in the Sky portrays life as a slave from the viewpoint of someone who lives in the that life and compares their hardships to our life today. For furthor reading,at the book there is biographical information about Harriet Tubman and a map of the Underground Railroad in 1880. Young readers can see that although this story is fiction, it is based on real events.
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Format: Paperback
The story of the Underground Railroad is presented in a magical, yet understandable way for primary school children. Cassie and her brother begin a journey to freedom, just like generations before them did in order to escape slavery. Cassie and her brother learn about slavery and the reasons why so many braved the perilous journey to the northern states and Canada. Cassie relives the journey and experiences many of the feelings and events that others did as she desperately tries to catch up to her brother, who has boarded the "train". The illustrations of acrylic on canvas enhance and heighten the excitement as Cassie makes her way through the woods and meets with those willing to help her. I recommend this book to others as a great way to explain the concept of the Underground Railroad and it's place in our country's history.
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Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
Saw a documentary on PBS about crafts and Faith Ringgold was one of the artist's featured. She talked about her book, Tar Beach, and I knew i had to get it, so I went to the library and checked it out. I enjoyed it thoroughly and resolved to get all of her books. I love how she uses color to fill the entire page. Having had family who lived in NYC, I was familiar with NYC rooftops and wasn't sure my southern grandchildren, who live in the country, would appreciate Tar Beach. So, I'm starting them with her, Aunt Harriet's Underground Railroad in the Sky. I would recommend all of her books.
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Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
I have purchased this book as a learning tool for an Education Committee at our local quilter's guild. This book is well written and wonderful for young people.
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Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
Faith Ringgold is not just a phenomenal artist but children's author as we'll. I am impressed with her writings and enjoy them as much as the children do.

Carolyn Mason
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