Books by Theme
There are incredible stories in history: tough tales, tales of bravery and resolve, of heartbreak and triumph. Some are told in poetry, others in prose, still others are told with pictures; some are true, others are fictionalized.
Chasing Freedom: The Life Journeys of Harriet Tubman and Susan B. Anthony, Inspired by Historical Facts
Underground Railroad “conductor” Harriet Tubman and Susan B. Anthony, a staunch proponent of women’s suffrage, lived during the same period in US history and actually met several times. Grimes richly imagines what they might have talked about at these meetings, contextualizing the period’s history and major events. Illustrations use strong lines and bold color to provide more than visual interest but also suggesting the strength of two remarkable women.
Freedom Song! The Story of Henry "Box" Brown
His unusual escape from slavery — in a box mailed to Philadelphia — is told in a conversational, folksy style illustrated with evocative illustrations. The cadence of the text calls to mind the music and song that were always important to Henry Brown.
Freedom's a-Callin Me
Sophisticated poems, often in dialect, are accompanied by haunting paintings to chronicle a group of enslaved people escaping north to freedom. Older readers will most appreciate this sometimes (necessarily) harsh portrait of escape, slave trackers, and the trek north.
My Uncle Martin's Words for America
Martin Luther King's niece recalls how the power of her uncle's words and his strength of conviction changed the United States. Realistic illustrations, straightforward language, and factual back matter create an accessible glimpse of the man and his place in history.
The Great Migration: Journey to the North
"Between 1915 and 1930, more than a million African Americans…moved to the North" including the poet's family. Join the travelers as they seek a better life in a different part of the United States. Rhythmic but not rhyming verse is complemented by evocative illustrations.
Brief, staccato text and dark-hued, mixed-media illustrations convey the drama of enslaved people escaping on the Underground Railroad. There is limited light and grave danger until the family reaches freedom in this seemingly simple yet rich and sophisticated book.
When Grandmama Sings
Belle goes with her talented grandmother on a singing tour during a time of racial segregation in the south in the 1950s. Grandmama decides to continue performing up north "where things were a little easier for black people." Realistic watercolors help define the setting.
Words Set Me Free: The Story of Young Frederick Douglass
A young Frederick Douglass narrates this handsome, moving, and authentic story of his early life as a slave, his desire to learn, and plans to escape slavery. The child who grew up to be an abolitionist, memorable writer, and orator knew that words — reading — would set him free.
Proceeds from the sale of books purchased at Amazon.com help support the Reading Rockets project. Thank you!