Freedom River
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Freedom River

3.89 of 5 stars 3.89  ·  rating details  ·  82 ratings  ·  25 reviews
The Barnes & Noble Review
There were many heroes of the Underground Railroad. From the tired and weary families who risked their lives to escape slavery to the instruments of freedom who helped them. One such amazing instrument was John Parker. As an ex-slave who had bought his own freedom, he knew of the pain and struggles his brethren were feeling. Parker made it his...more
Hardcover, 32 pages
Published August 1st 2000 by Jump At The Sun
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(NS) Becca
This book has such captivating mixed media pictures that it is difficult not to immediately be drawn into the story. The mood is set through dark colors and shadows and the reader knows at once that the story is serious. I would definitely recommend this book to upper elementary students, primarily for the reason that the topic may be difficult to understand, but also because I found myself having to re-read some parts to understand that Jim was a white man working for a black man. The forward h...more
Freedom River
3 out of 5 stars

The illustrations by Collier have a patchy look; it appears that ripped pieces of construction paper are artfully placed to create the drawings. With the exception of the smooth faces, the illustrations have a jagged and torn feel to them. This is mirrored in the text; characters seem torn between two worlds, fighting for freedom or staying with their masters. Images of African Americans appear at the bottom of the pages at the beginning of the book; they all have...more
Published: 2000, Sleeping Bear Press
Age: 6-12

John Parker is a seldom heard of former slave who helped with the Underground Railroad and also helped about 900 slaves to escape. This is the story of how he helped one family. For important words the author uses a larger font with repetition for emphasis. The pictures add to the text showing mostly darkened illustrations to visualize the tenseness of the situation. In addition, the illustrator uses a very interesting style combining collage with wat...more
Adriana Servin-cruz
This book is a true story of John Parker, a former slave and successful businessman who risked his reputation, freedom, and life in order to help other slaves find salvation. The story takes place in a time of slavery between the borders of the free state Ohio and the slave state Kentucky. John owns his business where he works along with a white man named Jim who lives in a plantation across the river of Kentucky and owns a slave family; Isaac, Sarah, and their baby daughter. John becomes determ...more
L12_luisespinoza Espinoza
This book tells a riveting true story about John Parker, an ex-slave and successful business man. John lives in the free state of Ohio in the town of Ripley, which lies near the Ohio river and across from the slave state of Kentucky. He is part of a group of freedom fighters that are part of the Underground Raiload.

John owns a foundry where he employs African-Americans and a Caucasian iron molder named Jim Shrofe. Jim lives in a plantation across the river in Kentucky and is owner of a slave fam...more
Grade/interest level: PreK-4th
Reading level: Lexile 330 (GL 3.1)
Genre: Historical fiction
Main Characters: John Parker
Setting: Kentucky, Ohio
Theme: Freedom, the underground rail road
Author: Doreen Rappaport
Harriet Tubman was not the only underground rail road conductor. In fact there were many people who risked their lives to free slaves, and bring them to free states in the America. Freedom River is a story that follows John Parker. John is a hardworking man who bought his freedom, and now...more
Erika Graves
This book is about John Parker, a freed slave, who lives in Ripley, Ohio and helps slaves to freedom through the Underground Railroad. This story tells how he helped free an enslaved family in Kentucky by bringing them across the river to Ohio. I am fascinated by the Underground railroad and enjoy hearing stories about slaves being lead to freedom, so I loved this book. I think this book is most appropriate for older elementary students (3rd-4th grade) due to the content and vocabulary used. Stu...more
Freedom River by Doreen Rappaport and Bryan Collier was published in 2000 by Jump at the Sun/Hyperion Books for Children. It was a Coretta Scott King Award Honor book and tells the story of John Parker, a successful African American businessperson in Ripley, Ohio (a free state) who helped tranport slaves across the Ohio River from Kentucky along the Underground railrod.
This is a powerful story of the lengths some people went to in order to help people escape to freedom. It talks about a perso...more
John Parker was born a slave but earned enough money to buy his freedom. He lived near the border between Ohio (a free state) and Kentucky (a slave state). He was an active conductor on the Underground Railroad.

This book tells the story of how he freed Sarah, Isaac and their baby in a very risky venture. Parker was brave and dedicated to doing what he felt was right.

I love the illustrations by Collier. I also enjoyed reading the symbolism behind the illustrations. Well worth reading. (Haven't r...more
Tita Kontodiakos
- Grade/Interest Level: K-2
- Reading Level: K
- Genre: Multicultural, Biography
- Main characters: John Parker
- Setting: Kentucky, Ohio
- POV: 1st person
Summary: This book is based on the true story of John Parker, an ex-slave who was now a freeman. John helped slaves cross the Ohio River from Kentucky to the free state of Ohio. John is attempting to save a couple and their baby who are treated horribly by a master across the river.
Theme: The theme of this book reflects the issue of helping others...more
Bryan Colliers' art showcases an original style combining watercolor with collage, and together form a vibrant and unique look to this book. The story is an account of an attempt by a conductor of the underground railroad to bring a slave family across the Ohio River and into freedom. It is not only a good introduction to young readers about slavery and the underground Railroad, but also a good reminder to all readers about the bravery and dangers that ordinary people faced in the struggle again...more
Brooke Jenkins
Final Project

I genuinely enjoyed reading this story. I am always intrigued by the stories of brave individuals who made a difference in this world due to that courage. John Parker put his life on the line multiple times to help families cross the river to freedom. Stories like his are the ones that need to be highlighted and told. I also think that allowing readers to see the selflessness and sense of community amongst slaves and former slaves is valuable in understanding the slave culture.
Brenda Kimble
These books have a powerful meaning with few words. I really like this book because it shows a people joining together as one to fight for a cause freedom. Again there are little words with much meaning this book recites the history of black people. It shows bravery and how they fought for their rights as a people need to know these things and pass it to our young. This book displays pride, power and unity. This is a great book.
John Parkeran an ex-slave who bought his own freedom, made it his goal to help slave families escape their life of suffering into a free land. He was a buisnessman who helped with the Underground Railroad. He helped slaves from the slave state of Ky to the free state of Ohio. This is a good book to go along with a history lesson and also to read during Black History mounth. Recommend for 3rd to 7th.
Zoila Avila
This is a partial biography of John Parker. John Parker was a slave who was taken from his mother and sold at age eight. He then bought his freedom and became a successful businessman. He help many slaves escape to reach freedom. This story is a scenario on how he helped a family escape. I think this is a great story for children to learn about the underground railroad and slavery.
Gabriela Murillo
Freedom River is a very good book to teach children history.This book is based on the true story of John Parker and ex-slave which turned out to become a very succesful business man. He lived in Ohio which was a free state right by the river that connected Kentucky which back then it was a slaved state. John Parker helped with the underground railroad annd helped 900 slaves to escape.
Courtney Hoekstra
This book is an educational way to teach about heroes of the Underground Railroad. Readers will be able to learn about people who have influenced history and the way we live today.
This book is a great example of the dangerous rescues people made on the underground railroad to free slaves. Rappaport's use of facial expressions and dark colors not only sets the mood for fear and danger but allows the reader to feel like they are running away from danger along with them.
Grest author and illustrator combo...exciting true story of a free black man who continued to help others escape even after he had found a lot of success. Now I want to visit the John Parker house in Ripley, OH. Good pick for a picture book to use with middle school.
This is a great book for teachers to use when teaching their students about slavery. This would be a good book to use for 3rd or 4th graders and the pictures are very interesting. Also, the pictures go along with the story very well.
this book is really good becauze itz bout thiz man helpping people to get away to freedom because what happened to his dad.......he dont want the samethin to happen to them
Though free and successful himself, former slave John Parker uses his wits and resources to save others as a conductor of the Underground Railroad.

Based on a true story.
A great book to use for a discussion of the underground railroad. This is a well-written book about John Parker's role in the Underground Railroad.
escaping slavery from south to free states. story of john parker
2001 CSKing Illustrator Honor
Christina marked it as to-read
Apr 09, 2014
Frida Gustafsson
Frida Gustafsson marked it as to-read
Mar 24, 2014
Sylena added it
Mar 11, 2014
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Doreen Rappaport has written many books of fiction and nonfiction for young readers, specializing in thoroughly researched multicultural history, historical fiction, retellings of folktales and myths, and stories of those she calls the "not-yet-celebrated." Among her recent books is MARTIN'S BIG WORDS: THE LIFE OF DR. MARTIN LUTHER KING, JR., illustrated by Bryan Collier, which received a Caldecot...more
More about Doreen Rappaport...
Martin's Big Words: The Life of Dr. Martin LutherKing Jr. Abe's Honest Words: The Life of Abraham Lincoln Helen's Big World: The Life of Helen Keller Beyond Courage: The Untold Story of Jewish Resistance During the Holocaust Eleanor, Quiet No More

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