Underground by Shane W. Evans
Evans, Shane W. (2011) Underground, New York City: Roaring Press Books
Target Audience: PK-2
This Coretta Scott King award wining book traces the path of escaped slaves through the Underground Railroad. The minimal use of words and striking, bold and often ominous illustrations carry through the theme set forth in the book’s subtitle: Finding the Light to Freedom. Evan’s illustrations move from darkness to light as the characters move from Slavery to Freedom. The courage and tenacity of the escapees is poignantly presented in the simplest and most direct way. The courage and compassion of those who helped is demonstrated as well. Although estimates vary, the Underground Railroad brought between 30,000-100,000 slaves to freedom from the early 1800’s to emancipation during the Civil War. The “railroad” consisted of a chain of safe houses, helpers, guides and routes manned by brave and caring people who often risked their own lives to help. The book indicates that the path to freedom was not easy and that bravery is not the absence of fear but the will to do the right thing despite being afraid. This wonderful book can be used to promote critical thinking and discussion about courage, compassion, standing up for ones rights and helping others achieve freedom and social justice.