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A Desperate Road to Freedom: The Underground Railroad Diary of Julia May Jackson, Virginia to Canada West, 1863-1864 (Dear Canada)
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A Desperate Road to Freedom: The Underground Railroad Diary of Julia May Jackson, Virginia to Canada West, 1863-1864

(Dear Canada)

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3.93  ·  Rating details ·  454 ratings  ·  25 reviews
Julia May and her family have done the unthinkable. They have fled from their life of slavery on a tobacco plantation in Virginia and are making their way north, on foot, where they have heard that slaves can be free. The journey takes them through swamps, travelling by night and hiding by day. The diary that Julia May keeps is another act of bravery. Learning to read and ...more
Hardcover, 240 pages
Published June 2009 by Scholastic Canada
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3.93  · 
Rating details
 ·  454 ratings  ·  25 reviews


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Student Symmes
Dec 21, 2009 rated it liked it
Review by: Melissa Murphy (SPOILER!!!)

What was your least favourite part in the book?
My least favourite part was the beginning. It was very boring. Even when they where running from their masters. When she was writing her diary entries they where short and with no date on them. She continuing on like that for until they got to the safe place. They where also short because she was not supposed to know how to read or write.

Did the book fulfil your expectation?

The book indeed fulfilled my expectati
...more
Rebecca
Sep 09, 2009 rated it really liked it
Eleven-year-old Julia May is more fortunate than most slaves in the southern states during the Civil War. As a young girl, her owner assigned her to be the personal slave and companion of his young daughter, Miss Marissa, and so Julia May didn‘t have to endure working in the fields of the plantation. Julia May learned to read and write while listening to Marissa’s lessons. Marissa didn’t care that her slave was educated, and kept Julia May's secret so that Julia May could help her with her schoo ...more
Jocelyn
Feb 16, 2017 is currently reading it


Slaves are seen as objects that are used and owned by the white, but why does it have to be that way? We live being scared everyday and the un aware of were our brothers and sisters were sold too. With the heavy labor upon our backs. Being not aloud to read or write, learn, go to school, or be independent and have our own lives. That’s why we are running, but scared we will be caught. Panicking and shivers run up my spine, where will we land next?
The book is very realistic, and keeps you want
...more
Nicola Mansfield
Feb 19, 2015 rated it really liked it
Karleen Bradford is a well-known and talented Canadian historical fiction writer for youth and teens. Needless to say, this is an entertaining and interesting addition the Dear Canada series. This particular book could be best suited to the younger end of the 8-12 age range as it is a basic story of American slaves escaping using the Underground railroad, then the troubles and successes they experience settling down in a community in Canada. The majority of the book takes place in Owen Sound, On ...more
Cheriee Weichel
Oct 03, 2011 rated it really liked it
Julia May Jackson was born a slave in Virginia just before the American Civil War. She is slave to the masters daughter and unbeknownst to anyone, has learned to read and write. Three older siblings have been sold, and there are rumors that her older brother, Thomas, will soon be next. Late one dark night her parents wake her, tell her to grab her things and keep quiet. It is the beginning of the family’s journey along the Underground Railroad to freedom in Canada. Julia May keeps a journal of t ...more
Meghan
Aug 12, 2013 rated it really liked it
Shelves: dear-canada
More like 3.5 stars but I'm going to be generous. First of all, the grammar was not authentic. Julia May sounded much more learned than she would have been especially at the start. Other than the town they ended up in being the terminus for the Underground Railroad, this book had little to do with Canada. I also felt like in the historical note the author made it sound like the US was the only country that had slaves after the 1830's, which is definitely not the case. I would have felt better if ...more
Sha
Sep 15, 2017 rated it really liked it
Nice book, with a few lovely moments. I do like slice of life/survival stories. No other book in the Dear America/Canada series so far has managed to capture the sheer Emotional Impact of A Picture of Freedom: The Diary of Clotee, a Slave Girl, Belmont Plantation, Virginia 1859, though. So everything is rated realtive to that.
Young Adult Historical Vault
Jul 23, 2017 rated it really liked it
Karleen Bradford gives us a wonderful story that's half adventure story and half settler's narrative. The characters are all interesting and complex in their own ways, and she deals with era-appropriate racism in an age-appropriate way. A great entry into the Dear Canada series.

For my full review including spoilers, check out Young Adult Historical Vault. https://yahistoricalvault.com/2017/05...
Sarah Lonsdale
Feb 25, 2016 rated it it was amazing
I don't usually like reading diary material.... But reading about her hard life and her extraordinary experience made me reflect on my life..... I just finished learning about the slaves in school so this just topped it all off.... It was the best book ever... I loved learning about how they ran away and how so many people helped them.... I wish I was alive back then to help them... They were such a loving family and u am so very glad that they found Sarah and Tomous came home from the war
Shanelle
Feb 06, 2016 rated it it was amazing
Recommends it for: anyone interested in Canada's history
I really enjoyed reading this book and since the first time that I had read it, my overall opinion of the story has changed. I loved reading about all of the changes that occurred in Julia May's life as it had kept myself engaged throughout the story. I definitely recommend this book to anyone who enjoys reading about history, as well as the history of Canada.
Twyla
Sep 07, 2016 rated it it was amazing
In this book Julia May Jackson travels to Canada to escape slavery and the war. My favourite part in this book was when they all were happy at the end. The worst part was when the family was still in Toronto and they ran into their old master from when they were still slaves
Teri Pre
Oct 22, 2015 rated it really liked it
Shelves: 2016-reads
This seems like it will be a good series. It's written for young readers, maybe 3rd or 4th graders, and will give students a better understanding of history since the books are written from a young person's perspective.
Shanelle
Sep 05, 2012 rated it liked it
Recommends it for: anyone who likes to read about Canadian history
Another book from the Dear Canada series, A Desperate Road to Freedom focusses on the Underground Railroad that helped save many lives. This book follows the story of Julia May Jackson and her family as they escaped from their past lives as slaves to the new world, Canada.
Callie
May 23, 2012 rated it it was amazing
loved it!!!!!de
Sara
Not bad. A light read and a good one to introduce younger generations to the Underground Railroad and Slavery.
Meaghan Steeves
Mar 13, 2016 rated it it was amazing
Wonderful story, my only regret is that it took me so long to read it!
Emma
Jun 11, 2017 rated it liked it
Good, I enjoyed it. Read it through overdrive e-book
Shalayne
Jun 17, 2012 rated it really liked it
It gives you a real life prsepteve of the horiblle slaveriy that had had happened. What a child feels esacaping the slaverliy
Renae
Mar 21, 2012 rated it liked it
Not bad. Not as much focus on the Underground Railroad as the title would have you believe, however. They were off that part by p. 46. I was expecting more emphasis on that.
Jess
May 12, 2012 rated it really liked it
My favourite dear Canada book
Georgia
Feb 15, 2015 rated it it was amazing
Review to come!
Aine
Nov 21, 2010 rated it it was amazing
Really depressing but really interesting.
Darlene Otet
Mar 07, 2015 rated it really liked it
Enjoyed this book, lots of history!
Shee Books
rated it really liked it
Apr 26, 2018
Sofia
rated it it was ok
Jun 10, 2013
Safila Kumara
rated it it was amazing
May 21, 2015
Ashley
rated it liked it
Nov 26, 2010
Nika
rated it liked it
Oct 24, 2014
Emily
rated it liked it
Jan 07, 2013
Taylor Reid
rated it it was amazing
May 26, 2012
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