Books For Elementary School Students
AUNT HARRIET'S UNDERGROUND RAILROAD IN THE SKY by Faith Ringgold (Dragonfly Books, 1995)
This creative book tells the story of Harriet Tubman and the Underground Railroad. Ringgold imagines Tubman's story as a fantastic nighttime flight and supports rich language with magical illustrations.
FREDERICK DOUGLASS: THE LAST DAYS OF SLAVERY by William Miller, illustrated by Cedric Lucas (Sagebrush Bound, 1999)
In this award-winning book, the author describes Frederick Douglass' life as a young plantation slave and reveals the courage Douglass exhibited by challenging his enslavement.
NETTIE'S TRIP SOUTH by Anne Turner (Aladdin, re-print edition 1995)
Nettie, a Northern girl traveling through the Antebellum South, shares her observations about slavery in this collection of fictional letters.
Books For Middle School Students
BULL RUN by Paul Fleischman (HarperTrophy, 1995)
Fleischman's award-winning fictional tale of a Civil War battle is told from sixteen different points of view.
CHRISTMAS IN THE BIG HOUSE, CHRISTMAS IN THE QUARTERS by Patricia McKissack, et al. (Scholastic Paperbacks, re-print edition 2002)
This book contrasts the lives of 19th century Virginia slaves and their masters as they prepare for the Christmas season.
DAILY LIFE ON A SOUTHERN PLANTATION 1853 by Paul Erickson (Bound to Stay Bound, 2001)
The author begins with a historical overview of slavery. He uses the rest of the book to create a picture of a Southern plantation on the eve of Civil War as seen through the eyes of both slaveholders and slaves.
I THOUGHT MY SOUL WOULD RISE AND FLY: THE DIARY OF PATSY, A FREED GIRL (DEAR AMERICA) by Joyce Hanson (Scholastic Press, 2003)
This fictional diary written from the point of view of a 12-year-old former slave describes how the narrator adjusts to her life as a free person in the Reconstruction South.
LEST WE FORGET: THE PASSAGE FROM AFRICA TO SLAVERY AND EMANCIPATION: A THREE-DIMENSIONAL INTERACTIVE BOOK WITH PHOTOGRAPHS AND DOCUMENTS FROM THE BLACK HOLOCAUST EXHIBIT by Velma Maia Thomas (Crown Publishing Group, 1997)
Thomas' book uses the idea of a multimedia exhibit to create a moving picture of antebellum slave life through interactive pages.
FREEDOM'S CHILDREN: THE PASSAGE FROM EMANCIPATION TO THE GREAT MIGRATION by Velma Maia Thomas (Crown Publishing Group, 2000)
The sequel to LEST WE FORGET describes the simultaneous excitement and terror felt by newly freed slaves.
MANY THOUSANDS GONE: AFRICAN AMERICANS FROM SLAVERY TO FREEDOM by Virginia Hamilton et al. (Knopf, 1993)
This book provides an overview of the history of slavery interwoven with stories relaying the life experiences of individual slaves.
THE MIDDLE PASSAGE: WHITE SHIPS, BLACK CARGO by Tom Feelings (Dial Books, 1995)
Powerful imagery is accompanied by a concise narrative in this book which tells the story of the transatlantic voyage that brought Africans to America, and to slavery.
TO BE A SLAVE by Julius Lester (Puffin Books, 2000)
The author uses writings by and interviews with slaves to tell the harrowing stories of Southern slavery.
THE UNDERGROUND RAILROAD by Raymond Bial (Houghton Mifflin, re-print edition 1999)
The author includes photos he took of Underground Railroad escape routes to support first-hand accounts of slaves who escaped through the Underground Railroad and stories of the people that helped them along the way.
WAR COMES TO WILLY FREEMAN (THE ARABUS FAMILY SAGA) by James and Christopher Collier (Yearling Books, re-issue ed., 1987)
This book tells the story of a free girl living in Connecticut who faces the possibility of enslavement after her father is killed in the Revolutionary war.
JUMP SHIP TO FREEDOM
Also check out the second book in the Arabus series, the story of a teenage slave and his pursuit of freedom.
Books For Middle to High School Students
AMISTAD: A LONG ROAD TO FREEDOM by Walter Dean Myers (Puffin Books, 2001)
The slave ship Amistad was grounded on the Northeastern coast of America after captured Africans aboard the ship took control. Myers' book uses archival documents to explore the social and legal ramifications of this event.
BOUND FOR AMERICA: THE FORCED MIGRATION OF AFRICANS TO THE NEW WORLD by James Haskins (HarperCollins, 1999)
The eighteen brief chapters in this book recount the plight of Africans forced into slavery with abundant use of primary documents and artwork.
BRADY by Jean Fritz (Putnam, re-print edition 1987)
This book tells the story of Brady, a white teenager living in Pennsylvania in the early 1800s. When Brady stumbles upon an Underground Railroad station he struggles to define his beliefs about slavery.
BREAKING THE CHAINS: AFRICAN AMERICAN SLAVE RESISTANCE by William Loren Katz (Sagebrush Bound, 1999)
This book examines both active and passive survival strategies used by black men and women as they confronted the hardships of slave life.
SARNY: A LIFE REMEMBERED by Gary Paulsen (Laurel Leaf, 1999)
Paulsen's tale chronicles the life of a woman named Sarny as she becomes a free woman and searches for the children who were taken away from her and sold before the Civil War.