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Aunt Harriet's Underground Railroad in the Sky
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Aunt Harriet's Underground Railroad in the Sky

4.10  ·  Rating Details  ·  604 Ratings  ·  70 Reviews
Illus. in full color. Cassie, who flew above New York in Tar Beach, soars into the sky once more. This time, she and her brother Be Be meet a train full of people, and Be Be joins them. But the train departs before Cassie can climb aboard. With Harriet Tubman as her guide, Cassie retraces the steps escaping slaves took on the real Underground Railroad and is finally reunit ...more
Paperback, 32 pages
Published December 12th 1995 by Dragonfly Books (first published November 24th 1992)
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Christi Dukette
May 15, 2016 Christi Dukette rated it really liked it
From the Author of Caldecott winner Tar Beach, Faith Ringgold, this book is a magical interpretation of the inspirational strength and courage shown by Harriet Tubman.
Cassie and her brother, Be Be, embark on a magical adventure through history. They meet a woman know as Aunt Harriet for all those she cares for. Harriet is wearing a conductors uniform and is helping people on a strange train. Harriet helps Cassie to truly understand the struggles that were endured by those trying to escape slave
Rebecca Ashley Teague
Apr 08, 2014 Rebecca Ashley Teague rated it it was amazing
Aunt Harriet’s Underground Railroad in the Sky tells the story of two young siblings, Cassie and Be Be, who are traveling the Underground Railroad to freedom, just like generations before them did. The two are separated and Cassie, with the help of Harriet Tubman, has to trace her brother’s steps in order to find him. Along the way, Cassie takes the same journey that generations before her did. In the end, Cassie and her brother are reunited. The story is very imaginative, but at the same time g ...more
(NS) Lisa
Sep 30, 2009 (NS) Lisa rated it really liked it
Cassie and Be Be are soaring among the stars far above the mountains and oceans when they come across an old ramshackled train in the sky. Be Be jumps aboard but Cassie is to late. What follows is a life changing expedition to Canada on the underground railroad with Aunt Harriet as the conductor guiding the children on a journey from slavery to freedom. Though the children are separated at the beginning of the trip they keep in contact with notes left along the way. The children are able to expe ...more
Shu M
May 17, 2015 Shu M rated it it was amazing
Cassie flew to the sky on top of New York City with her brother, Be Be. They were departed when the train drove away before Be Be could hop on the train. Cassie was trying to escape as a slave. She listened to Harriet Tubman's guidance and escaped her life as a slave. She met her brother once again and flew up to the sky at the end of the story. I think this book is very informational that could help children to understand how life was like as a slavery. I would recommend it for k-2 children.
Casey Koch
Apr 09, 2016 Casey Koch rated it it was amazing
Cassie, who flew above New York in Tar Beach, now soars among the stars with her little brother Be Be. They come across a mysterious freedom train in the sky and meet its conductor Harriet Tubman. While Be Be hops aboard the train right away, Cassie holds back and has to trail the train on foot, following the path of her slave ancestors, who took the Underground Railroad north to freedom. Aided by Tubman's whispering voice, Cassie escapes from a plantation, hides in the woods and swamps, and lea ...more
With stunningly vibrant illustrations, this picture book allows readers to follow a possible route to Canada as slaves sought freedom. Cassie, the protagonist of Tar Beach, and her brother meet Harriet Tubman while they are flying through the sky. Be Be climbs aboard the train to freedom that Harriet is conducting. While following him, Cassie gets a history lesson from the woman who came to be called Moses because of her ability to bring some of her people to freedom or Canada, which some came t ...more
Mar 05, 2015 MissKatherine rated it really liked it
Aunt Harriet's Underground Railroad follows a familiar character, Cassie, from Faith Ringgold's Caldecott Medal winner Tar Beach. As Cassie and her brother BeBe fly through the sky, they encounter a train marked "Go Free North or Die" and the train's conductor, "Aunt Harriet" Tubman. When BeBe boards the train, Aunt Harriet warns Cassie that slavery will take her flight and bind her feet to the ground. Cassie then embarks on a long and scary journey to escape slavery and find freedom in Canada. ...more
Cassie and Be Be, the brother and sister from Tar Beach, take a magical trip on the Underground Railroad experiencing firsthand what slaves endured in their pursuit of freedom.

Acrylic paintings are haunting, especially the ghost-like faces in the backgrounds of many images and really help to make the experience authentic.

A brief bio of Harriet Tubman follows the story. Also included is a further reading list and a map of the Underground Railroad.

This book serves as an accurate/authentic introdu
Sabrynna Vasaure
Apr 13, 2016 Sabrynna Vasaure rated it it was amazing
Aunt Harriet's Underground Railroad in the sky was such a magical book. Besides providing, a lot of historical content, the author told the story in such a beautiful way. The author, Faith Ringgold was also the illustrator of the book. She uses acrylic paints to capture the essence of each moment in the book. The streaks of paint, the colors, and the shading are used to enhance our senses of reading. It was an interesting choice of illustration. Meanwhile, the story tells us of through the eyes ...more
I shared this with my fifth grade students and most of them enjoyed it. The story was different from some of the other texts we've read about slavery, Harriet Tubman, and the Underground Railroad. The kids appreciated the creativity of the story of the train in the clouds. When Cassie's little brother gets on the train and gets away from her, she goes on a journey in which she experiences what the passengers on the Underground Railroad experienced. Along the way, she receives letters from her li ...more
Aug 06, 2015 Ashley rated it it was amazing
This story was so powerful that it caused Alice to cry. She was especially teary eyed when Cassie found her brother Be Be's cap lying by itself and had to leave it. The story explains slavery very well for a young audience. Two children are flying through the sky when they encounter a flying train with Harriet Tubman aboard. She explains that it is the Underground Railroad in the Sky. Be Be jumps on board before his sister Cassie can stop him and then they both end up recreating an escape to Can ...more
This book contains quite a bit of factual information on the underground railroad in a format that is accessible to children. The illustrations are classic Ringold, reminiscent of Tar Beach. While it is a lovely book, I'm not sure that it would have a lot of appeal to most of my 4th grade students. It would appeal more to younger students, but the underground railroad is probably not taught much easrlier, so I feel as though the book's usefulness as a supplemental text may be limited. As indepen ...more
Feb 11, 2016 Samantha rated it it was amazing
Aunt Harriet's Underground Railroad in the Sky was a great book. It was very informing about slavery, gave the major details, but wasn't over whelming. It would be a great book to read to kids to give them a background knowledge about slavery. It also had rhyming to make it seem not so serious, but still getting the point across. The illustrations were very good, lots of colors and it also showed the intensity of what was really going on back then with all the details. In the book of the book th ...more
This children book captivated me in the sense of informing me about Slavery, Underground Railroad for children, the illustration, and the different messages included into the picture in terms of severity of what Slaves were risking with Harriet Tubman.

Even though I wish slavery did not existed, I am grateful that it happen in a period where I did not existed because many people today proclaim they would have defended African Americans and slaves when in reality that would not seem likely because
Israel Graves
Dec 11, 2011 Israel Graves rated it liked it
(historical picture book)
This picture book connects children with the fantasy of being able to fly and history as they follow Cassie, her little brother Be Be and Harriey Tubman on the journey to learn about slavery, Harriet Tubman and the Underground Railroad. Many times children can get bored with the idea of history but this book most certainly takes the boredom out of learning history! Cassie's little brother Be Be is curious about the train that they encounter during this flying journey so
Melissa Cellini
Apr 29, 2013 Melissa Cellini rated it really liked it
Aunt Harriet’s Underground Railroad in the Sky by Faith Ringgold allows you to delve into a time period with main character Cassie Louise Lightfoot, who experiences the dangers and challenges associated with traveling on the Underground Railroad. One evening, Cassie and her younger brother Bebe, decide to take a break and fly in the sky. During their journey, they come across a train that is run by conductor, Harriet Tubman. The train is taking African American slaves to the North to be freed fr ...more
Stephanie Koerner
Nov 11, 2012 Stephanie Koerner rated it really liked it
Grade/interest level: preK-3rd
Reading level: 760L
Fountas and Pinnell: R
Genre: Historical Fictions

Main Characters: Cassie, Be Be, Harriet Tubman
Setting: in the sky along the path of the Underground Railroad, 1949 (the 100 year anniversary of the Underground Railroad)
POV: Cassie's

In this book, Cassie and her younger brother, Be Be, are flying with the stars one night and see an old railroad and train. Be Be’s youthful curiosity gets the best of him and he hops aboard, but Cassie big siste
Maribel Galvez
Oct 18, 2012 Maribel Galvez rated it it was amazing
Grade/interest level: Primary (K-2)
Reading level: 4.7 (Lexile 760L)
Genre: Historical Fiction, Fantasy

Main Characters: Harriet Tubman, Cassie, Be Be
Setting: Various southern states
POV: Cassie

As Cassie and her baby brother fly through the sky, they see a ramshackled train. Be Be decides to jump on the train to join a tiny woman in a conductor’s uniform. Cassie wants Be Be to come back and is afraid her parents will never forgive her for letting him go. Suddenly, Harriet Tubman introduces hersel
This book is beautifully illustrated and is a wonderful way to have young children begin to understand what went on during slavery in America. Faith Ringgold uses beautiful words that create strong imagery and that stretch our imaginations as the reader. This would be a wonderful book to have children create a mobile or some visual representation of what they have learned from the story (e.g. characters, themes, plot, etc.) I also like that at the end Ringgold offers suggestions for further read ...more
Jan 28, 2016 Jen added it
Shelves: picture-book
(1995) Cassie retraces the steps that slaves once took on the underground railroad. She is helped by the spirit of Harriet Tubman who guides Cassie in her journey to be reunited with her brother BeBe, who are ultimately reunited at the end of the story. The last pages of the book include a biography of Harriet Tubman and a map showing the different routes people took on the the underground railroad.
Lindsay Bunchman
Jul 19, 2010 Lindsay Bunchman rated it really liked it
This book is a great resource for teachers who are discussing Harriet Tubman and the Underground Railroad. Student readers will be able to get a glimpse into what it was like to travel under cover and constantly at risk. This book is especially useful since the story introduces the Underground Railroad and then the last few pages explain the real story of Harriet Tubman, further clarify what the Underground Railroad was, and provide a map showing the paths from south to north. The end even provi ...more
Rachel Dalton
This is another great book by Faith Ringgold. I love how she sets all of her books in a true historical context and writes in a way that allows students to visualize and connect with the text. This would be great to use when teaching about slavery and Harriet Tubman.
Feb 16, 2015 Dana rated it really liked it
This is one of the best books I've read for teaching about the underground railroad and the slavery of African Americans. It is done in such engaging way. A girl and her brother travel back in time to experience following the U.R. to freedom in Canada.
Tita Kontodiakos
Nov 20, 2012 Tita Kontodiakos rated it it was amazing
- Grade/Interest Level: Pre K
- Reading Level: Early Childhood
- Genre: Historical fiction, Information
- Main characters: Cassie, Be Be, Harriet Tubman
- Setting: Underground Railroad
- POV: 3rd person
Summary: This is a fictional story about two African American children, little girl names Cassie and her brother Be Be, who encounter a tiny black woman, Harriet Tubman, who transports the kids back to a time of slavery. They retrace the journey that slaves went on to freedom by means of the Undergro
Oct 25, 2011 Katie rated it really liked it
This is an interesting depiction of how Harriet Tubman helped the Underground Railroad through the story and illustration of Faith Ringgold. It is a dreamlike experience as the girl travels the dangerous route to freedom that her great great great grandparents took from slavery. Ringgold based the story off of the strange dreams Harriet Tubman had of flying to freedom while she was ill and near death. The use of actual stops or “stations” to meet the next conductor really gives the reader a clea ...more
Beth Schencker
Jun 07, 2013 Beth Schencker rated it really liked it
A beautifully illustrated story that follows an imaginary journey of a young brother and sister, Cassie and Be Be who discover the Underground Railroad with Aunt Harriet at the wheel. Be Be jumps on the train and Cassie must continue on foot from plantation to freedom. Aunt Harriet’s Underground Railroad in the Sky is a great treat of the imagination that shows in a subdued way the journey thousands of slaves bravely took to reach the Northern States and Canada to freedom. The images of the whit ...more
April Smith
This is a great book to introduce the Underground Railroad. I believe they will understand the general idea of what was going on while reading this book. It would build their schema.
Terri D.
Mar 29, 2010 Terri D. rated it it was ok
I was looking for a good story to introduce my daughter (6) to the ideas of slavery (they were taught on President's Day that Abraham Lincoln freed the slaves! Yay! What a hero! But they were not taught what a slave was or who was enslaved). I guess this provided the opening, but overall, the book stunk. 1. The idea was to present the underground railroad as a dream that Harriet Tubman once had involving, yes, a flying railroad. That basically confused Isabel, who was clearly skeptical about the ...more
Nov 28, 2011 Katie rated it liked it
Aunt Harriet’s Underground Railroad in the Sky is a fictional story based on actual events that happened along the Underground Railroad. The book is full of white faces lurking in the background. The reader travels along the railroad in the same order a slave possibly would. First, they escape from a plantation through many of the save houses until they reach Canada where they are finally save and free.

The back of the book gives a small biography of Harriet Tubman. It tells of dreams she had wh
Mar 30, 2011 Amy rated it it was amazing
This is a fascinating book in which a young girl, Cassie, follows her brother on the Underground Railroad in the sky - a sort of dream experience they have, matching the experiences of their great great great grandparents and their route to freedom from slavery. This was a very interesting portrayal of the Underground Railroad and I loved the story line and pictures. It is a great book to use when learning about slavery, yet some of the illustrations and descriptions can be scary. They are factu ...more
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