Enter your mobile number or email address below and we'll send you a link to download the free Kindle App. Then you can start reading Kindle books on your smartphone, tablet, or computer - no Kindle device required.
To get the free app, enter your mobile phone number.
Other Sellers on Amazon
+ $3.99 shipping
+ $3.99 shipping
+ Free Shipping
Words Set Me Free: The Story of Young Frederick Douglass (Paula Wiseman Books) Hardcover – January 3, 2012
|New from||Used from|
From timeless classics to new favorites, find children's books for every age and stage. See more
Frequently bought together
Customers who bought this item also bought
Words Set Me Free: The Story of Young Frederick Douglass
Lesa Cline Ransome, illus. by James E. Ransome. S&S/Wiseman, $16.99 (32p) ISBN 978-1-4169-5903-8
Drawing from Narrative of the Life of Frederick Douglass, the Ransomes (Before There Was Mozart) create a powerful biographical account of the anti-slavery crusader, writer, and orator’s early life. Writing from Douglass’s first-person perspective, Lesa Cline Ransome plainly relays the inhuman treatment of plantation slaves—“even the animals were rested in the heat of the afternoon sun, and they were never whipped bloody for being too tired or too sick or too slow”—and expresses how learning to read was a catalyst for Douglass’s liberation. “I bought my first newspaper and learned new words—liberty, justice, and freedom.... These were the words my master would never want me to see.” Ransome’s acrylic and oil paintings combine striking naturalism with a palette of inky greens and blues; after Douglass uses his writing skills to forge a letter from his master releasing him, a final spread shows him looking boldly toward the North Star. Though an author’s note explains that Douglass did not successfully escape that night (but did three years later), the story concludes with a sense of hope and determination. Ages 5–9.
--Publishers Weekly, November 28, 2011, *STARRED REVIEW
Frederick Bailey, who would later change his surname to Douglass, relates his early years, from first vague memories of his mother, who walked through the night to visit her sleeping son on a neighboring plantation; through his childhood, with his service leased to the Auld family of Baltimore; to his first attempt to make an escape from Talbot County, Maryland. The narration is dignified and tightly focused on the way learning to read both inspired and enabled young Frederick to plan for a life of freedom in the North. The depiction of the risk involved for a slave to achieve literacy is particularly well handled for a picture-book audience. Tales of cruel punishment for slaves who could read distract Frederick as Mrs. Auld teaches him his letters; he later uses religious services as a cover for passing his skill on to fellow slaves. This chapter in Douglass’ story concludes with his forgery of a pass, written “in a firm and steady hand,” which would allow him to “walk right out of Talbot County and into freedom up north.” James Ransome’s oil and acrylic paintings underscore young Frederick’s determination and independent spirit, and their interplay with the text leaves readers with the strong impression that, once he had mastered the written word, Frederick’s labors in town and fields were only going to be unfortunate layovers on his unstoppable journey to freedom. A concluding note explains that the forged-pass plan never came off, and it would be several more years before Douglass escaped to New York. However, even children unacquainted with Douglass the abolitionist will somehow sense that nothing is going to keep young Frederick Bailey in bondage. A brief timeline and list of sources are included.
--BCCB, February 2012 (--BCCB, February 2012)
Words Set Me Free: The Story of Young Frederick Douglass
By Lesa Cline-Ransome and illustrated by James E. Ransome
(Paula Wiseman; ISBN 9781416959038; January 2012; Spring catalog p. 2)
The author and illustrator, a husband-and-wife team who collaborated previously on “Satchel Paige,” base their biography of young Douglass on his “Narrative of the Life of Frederick Douglass.” Using the first person, they describe Douglass’s arduous early life as the spurned son of his master, forced to live apart from his slave mother. Visceral, intimate and plainly told, this story is sure to move young children, and also motivate them to read more.
--New York Times Book Review, February 12, 2012
"This talented team has created a concise, accessible, beautifully illustrated book based on Douglass’s Narrative of the Life of Frederick Douglass. Rich acrylic and oil paintings depict plantation life (poorly clothed slave children kneeling before troughs, devouring cornmeal mush like livestock) and the strong emotions of the people (a young Frederick being transported with hands tied behind his back, lest he escape). This handsome volume is recommended for slightly older audiences than William Miller and Cedric Lucas’s Frederick Douglass: The Last Day of Slavery (Lee & Low, 1995)."--School Library Journal, January 2012 *STARRED REVIEW
About the Author
Lesa Cline-Ransome is the author of Satchel Paige and Major Taylor, Champion Cyclist, both illustrated by James E. Ransome.
James E. Ransome’s highly acclaimed illustrations for Let My People Go won the NAACP Image Award. His other award-winning titles include Coretta Scott King Honor Book Uncle Jed’s Barbershop by Margaree King Mitchell, Deborah Hopkinson’s Under the Quilt of Night, and Satchel Paige, written by his wife, Lesa Cline-Ransome. Mr. Ransome teaches illustration at Syracuse University and lives in with his family in upstate New York. Visit him at JamesRansome.com.
If you’re the author, publisher, or rights holder of this book, let ACX help you produce the audiobook.Learn more.
Top customer reviews
In, "Words Set Me Free: The Story of Young Fredrick Douglass" the book begins with:
"My Mama was named Harriet Bailey. They say my master, Captain Aaron Anthony, was my daddy. After I was born, they sent me to live with my Grandmamma, and my Mama to another plantation".
I found the first page of the book to be the least smooth. It also lacked explanation. If this book was meant to be geared toward children 5-9, it might have been a good idea to explain the idea of slavery, 'masters', plantations, etc.
One of my favorite children's books, "Henry's Freedom Box: A True Story from the Underground Railroad", has a much more simple but straight to the point introduction... "Henry Brown wasn't sure how old he was. Henry was a slave. And slaves weren't allowed to know their birthdays". I felt that there were less moments when reading "Words" to open up an appropriate dialogue with my students. Some of the wording of "Words" is also tricky, for example, "Mama took sick". I think I understand what the author was trying to do... use excerpts from Douglass' own book. The problem with this is that it doesn't quite translate well into a children's book.
As an adult, I did enjoy the book but I had a hard time reading it and working through it with my 6-7 year old students. It ends with such hope yet you turn the page to the Author's Note, and it says "Fredrick Bailey did not escape that evening". You find out he was jailed, and it took three more years until he was able to actually escape! It was just thrown in there in an "oh, by the way..." kind of tone.
My students had a much better time understanding, creating dialogue, and reacting with empathy, with other books. I did however enjoy the and Timeline in the back of the book.
This definitely was a nice attempt (and with gorgeous illustrations!), but I feel that it is not the most effective or well written book for the target audience. It does not do Fredrick Douglass enough justice.
"Much of my time was my own as I was not yet old enough to work the fields. We ate our two meals a day out of a trough just like the animals in the barn. We were always hungry so we shoved down our meals of cornmeal mush with shells and dirty hands. But even the animals were rested in the heat of the afternoon sun, and they were never whipped bloody for being too tired or too sick or too slow."
The above is from the second page, adjacent to the text is a picture of young slaves eating out of a trough. For me those two pages were the most powerful. Ransome paints the ugliness with such beauty. As the biography progresses Douglass comes more into himself, allowing people to get a glimpse of the men he would become.
"For seven years I worked for my master and his missus down at the shipyard, lifting and laboring, and back at their house, toting and hauling- always pretending to be something I was not - content to be a slave."
This Word Set Me Free, is a very fitting title, when Douglass understands the power of words he's determined to learn how to read regardless of the consciousness.
This was a good biography on Frederick Douglass. The longer I look at it the more I appreciate how well the text and illustrations complement each other.
The author includes an epilogue. There is also an author's note and a small timeline. The author was able to incorporate many names and states throughout the biography but few dates. So I would've liked more back matter including a longer timeline.
Lesa Ransome's poignant and timely tale (I read it during Black History Month) provides young readers with an example of someone who has a hunger for knowledge, and who didn't accept no for an answer. I also enjoyed the glimpse into the developing years of who would later be known as Frederick Douglass. We are told about the mistreatment he experienced at the hands of his Master(s)...from eating meals from a trough to being denied the right to read....only to see his eventual emergence as one of history's most famous freedom fighters.
This book was nicely illustrated and easy to read, therefore, making it the perfect addition to any Elementary School Library. I also like the fact that the author had notes in the rear chronicling Douglass' later years, a timeline and other sources. I think these items are extremely useful for young students to learn basic research methods.