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Underground: Finding the Light to Freedom
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Underground: Finding the Light to Freedom

4.07  ·  Rating details ·  1,051 ratings  ·  333 reviews
A family silently crawls along the ground. They run barefoot through unlit woods, sleep beneath bushes, take shelter in a kind stranger's home. Where are they heading? They are heading for Freedom by way of the Underground Railroad.

"A stellar introduction to the Underground Railroad, narrated by a group of slaves. Readers experience the fugitives' escape, their long nightt
Hardcover, 32 pages
Published January 18th 2011 by Roaring Brook Press
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4.07  · 
Rating details
 ·  1,051 ratings  ·  333 reviews

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Zoe's Human
Mar 17, 2018 rated it really liked it
Picture book
Grades: PreK - 2
Ages: 3-7
Lexile Measure: BR60L
DRA Level: 16
Themes: African American History, American Civil War, Slavery, Underground Railroad, Abolition

Shane Evans uses short, simple sentences to tell a basic story of slaves escaping to freedom. Yet again, he has found a way to communicate complex topics to little readers. The rear information page provides a great supplement for adults who want to branch off into larger discussions after reading.
Lisa Vegan
May 30, 2011 rated it it was ok
Recommends it for: kids who already know about the Underground Railroad, for further discussion, I suppose
I wanted to like this book; I wanted to love it.

It’s about the Underground Railroad, and there’s an inspiring and informative author’s note at the end.

If the story and pictures had wowed me as much as that note, and given the subject matter, this book would have likely been a 5 or 4 star book for me.

But I thought it was a weird little book and it wasn’t really my cup of tea.

The illustrations are interestingly minimalist but I can’t say I enjoyed them, though they did fit this very short story w
Nov 08, 2010 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: picture-books
Using only the shortest of sentences, the smallest of words, Evans has created a picture book that captures the fear and hope of escaping slaves on the Underground Railroad. The well-chosen words add to the tension, keeping it taut with danger. It reads as if the author too is trying to be quiet, near silent and to escape notice.

The palette is one of darkness with bright whites of eyes shining, the colors capturing the oppression of slavery. As freedom nears, the colors change, almost glowing w
538AM Anne Rowland
Sep 29, 2013 rated it really liked it
Shelves: picture-books
Nice picture book that lends to a lot of inference by the reader. This would good for k-1 for a journey book and you could get more in depth with 2-8 depending on your presentation. Interesting illustrations, using color tones to set the mood and emotions. There is no mention of the Underground Railroad, but already being familiar with the historic system, it was easy for me the know its subject. It holds a great story line even if you don't know about the Underground Railroad it's clear through ...more
Wow... what a simple, yet powerful, approach to such a difficult topic. Underground is a story of a family/group of men, women, and children slaves who find their way to freedom using the Underground Railroad -- and all of their struggles along the way.

The illustrations truly make this book what it is. Text is very minimal on each page, but the illustrations really speak. The use of color is very powerful. The majority of the book, as the slaves escape and head out into the unknown, is dark hues
Underground: Finding the Light to Freedom by Shane W. Evans is a picture book that describes the events of the Underground Railroad. The book contains very few words but is very effective in its story telling. The majority of the illustrations are in dark blue hues with occasionally pops of soft orange. As the slaves find their way to freedom, more pops of color shine to help them find their way.
This book has a quietly intense quality about it. When reading it to myself, I imagined the narrati
Jan 20, 2014 rated it really liked it
Shelves: mc-literature
Underground: Finding the Light to Freedom by Shane W. Evans is a wonderfully simple book about a family’s journey on the Underground Railroad. There are two or three words on most pages that simply state how the family moves toward freedom like, “We are quiet,” and “The fear,” and “We run.” The simplicity of the text, in my opinion, makes it that much more moving in part because the illustrations work to carry the story even more than the words.

The illustrations are restricted to dark blues and
Audience: Primary
Genre: Picture Book
Favorite Quote: "I am free. He is free. She is free. We are free."
Rationale: This line is on the very last page of the book. The whole story is about the Underground Railroad and trying to make it to freedom. There are very few words on each page, but the visual images are very powerful. I enjoyed this last page because it expresses happiness and joy. The beginning of the book starts with the escape. Th pictures are very dark, and there are many feelings of f
Krista the Krazy Kataloguer
This is the 2012 Coretta Scott King winner for illustrations. However, I wasn't so impressed with the illustrations as I was with the text, which, though very brief, succinctly told the story of escaping slaves. The sentences are only two to four words per page, except on the very last page, so beginning readers would find it easy. The pictures are done in shades of night blue, with freedom being symbolized by the light of the sunrise. I'm not sure I would have made this a winner, but it's certa ...more
Mar 06, 2013 rated it liked it
Shelves: info-bios
Underground:Finding the Light to Freedom provides the reader with an overview of the underground system slaves used to travel from the south to the north during the 1800s. This book is almost a wordless picture book in that there are only two or three words every other page. With the minimal use of words and general overview of the concept this book would be best fitted for very young readers.

The stark contrast between the light and dark colors on the pages provides the reader with the sense of
Jun 15, 2015 rated it it was amazing
Underground: finding the light to freedom by Shane Adams, is a picture book that describes a family escaping to freedom by using the underground railroad. although there are few words, each picture takes you on the journey with them. The book still gives a clear understanding of what Afican Americans had to go through to be free. I liked how the pictures went from dark to light. The dark represented fear and oppression and as it got light it represented freedom! this is a great book to teach abo ...more
Alexsandy Jimenez
Jan 19, 2015 rated it it was amazing
An easy read yet a very captivating book that walks us through the journey that others had to go through to gain freedom. This journey covers people that were met along the way, those who helped, those who failed to make it, and ultimately finally making it to the most desired freedom.
This is a great book that conveys as much emotion as that of a lengthier book, through the text, illustrations and colors chosen for those illustrations. Though it is a childrens' book as I read this for this parti
Sep 23, 2013 rated it it was amazing
Underground: Finding the Light to Freedom by Shane W. Evans (2011)
Genre: Non Fiction, picture book
Format: Book
Plot summary: A group of slaves narrate their escape from slavery into freedom using the Underground Railroad.
Considerations or precautions for readers advisory (strong language, sex, death, religious overtones, violence, etc.): No special considerations
Review Citations: Peters, John Edward. Kirkus Reviews , 11/15/2010, Vol. 78 Issue 22, p117-117
Section source used to find the material:
Evans does a great job capturing the emotions of enslaved Africans escaping to freedom on the Underground Railroad using a simple palette of blue, yellow, green, white, and black. The simplicity of his palette sets the mood and helps create tension. Further, he uses very few words, which forces the reader to get immersed in the illustrations and develop a deeper understanding of the journey to freedom from slavery.
Jun 28, 2012 added it
Shelves: childrens-lit
Audience - Preschool and up, classroom teachers, history teachers

Appeal - This is a very well illustrated book about slaves traveling on the underground railroad to safety. This would be a good book for lessons on slavery and the underground railroad or for the younger kids during black history month.

Corretta Scott King, Illustrator Winner, 2012
Julie Esanu
Shane Evans provides a simple, yet poignant, portrayal of slaves and their escape via the Underground Railroad. The minimalist pictures and text speak volumes as the family portrayed moves from fear to freedom. As they progress in their journey, the colors become lighter and glow as they find freedom. This book is a great introduction to the Underground Railroad for younger readers.
Jun 29, 2012 rated it really liked it
Audience: Primary Grades, would also be appropriate for older readers

Appeal: Complex, advanced subject made accessible to all readers with simple text, use of color to convey mood.

Award: Coretta Scott King Book award 2012
Alyson (Kid Lit Frenzy)
Simple text, simple illustrations come together to tell the story of slaves escaping for freedom. One page background information in the back of the book is helpful to teachers.
Nov 19, 2011 rated it really liked it
Very simple text and gorgeous illustrations make this a great read aloud for ELLs to open the topic of slavery and the underground railroad.
Charlotte Jones
I don't often read and review picture books but the premise of this one intrigued me. I was interested to see how an author could tackle something as harrowing as slavery and the journey to freedom in a book meant for such young readers.

I think that Shane W. Evans has created a book that is meant to be read aloud and explained by the parent. It is a conversation starter, a gateway into the wider topics of race relations and slavery. As an adult, I understood what the story was trying to get acro
A very concise yet evocative introduction to the Underground Railroad.

Apr 21, 2015 added it
Shelves: multicultural
Underground by Shane W. Evans Primary
Text to world:
Still today, we have people trying to escape to their freedom. I have read many stories about people trying to make it to freedom. They are moving at night trying to cross the border. Like in the book, they have to go in the darkness, rely on friends and other, and some do not make it. I imagine if they do make it they fell a sense of relief and happiness. I have read stories about people creating boats trying to make it to the U.S. for a sense
Apr 30, 2014 rated it really liked it
I liked this book. This was an appropriate book for a younger age group. This is a simple book about the underground railroad and in the back page it goes into detail about slavery and what it means to own someone. This is a book you could use in first or second grade to read to children so they understand that slavery existed without giving them nightmares about it. I would like to use this book in a future class. I would likely use it at the beginning of a history lesson on the underground rai ...more
Nov 13, 2014 rated it it was amazing
"Underground: Finding the Light to Freedom," by Shane W. Evans, is about a families experience escaping slavery. While on their journey some people make it while other don't. When they escape they have to go in the dark and be really quiet so no one sees them. But they are scared so they run to get further. They crawl through the bushes to stay unseen. By this time they are tired so they rest until they find friends that will help them out and give them shelter. In the end they finally see the l ...more
Nicole Survis
Jun 04, 2015 rated it really liked it
Shane Evans creates a wonderfully simplistic story about the underground railroad without even mentioning the underground railroad. Using a small number of words and subdued illustrations Evans paints a brilliant picture of the trials and tribulations that slaves had to endure on their difficult journey to freedom.

Written with honest depictions the journey includes both friends and enemies and even blatantly says that not all make it through the journey alive. I think that this is an excellent
Rebecca Tenbrook
Mar 08, 2014 rated it it was amazing
This book won the Coretta Scott King Award and I can see why. This book takes us on a journey on the underground railroad. The sentences on each page are short and to the point, to convey the meaning of silence while on this journey. Each page is dark there is no light to show how they traveled in the dark with no light to guide them. The book touched on scary topics like mobs of white men going out looking for them. Some didn't make it as the picture showed of a slave being found by a man with ...more
Aly Gutierrez
Dec 05, 2016 rated it it was amazing
• Book summary
-It was dark so they were quit so they could escape. It was scary, but they ran, crawled, and rested when they could. They met new friends that helped them. Though, no everyone made it through the escape. They were tired, but they were almost there. The light from the sun brought Freedom. They were all now free.

• Grade level, interest level, Lexile
-Kindergarten-4nd grade

• Appropriate classroom use (subject area)
-Learn about slavery and the underground railroad while reading this
Apr 07, 2015 rated it really liked it
Hidden by darkness, a group of slaves makes their way towards freedom. The Underground Railroad was full of brave men and women who sought out this precious human right, and helped others to obtain it as well. These people had far to travel, some coming even up to Canada, and they had to do so in secret, less they be caught. Shane W. Evans seeks to impart the feel of this furtive endeavour rather than specific information about the Underground, although some information is included in the back. ...more
Jesse McMorris
Dec 05, 2015 rated it really liked it
Underground Finding the Light to Freedom is by Shane Evans and also illustrated by him also. This book used extreme minimal words so the pictures had to shine through. Even with a plot as deep as the Underground Railroad they limited themselves to the most vital words or sentences. The pictures up close show a lot of emotion with the characters and where they are going for the most part. Lines are a big part of in this, it’s kind of weird but you can see the lines in the texture. Thinking about ...more
Feb 01, 2014 rated it it was amazing
This is absolutely the best book for young kids I have seen for introducing slavery or indeed, any struggle for freedom from oppression. Most of the pages have just a few words, but they are full of power: “The fear.” “We run.” “Others help.” “Some don’t make it.” “We are tired.”

The illustrations are as striking as the text. It starts out in darkness, and when the escapees reach freedom, the sun comes up, illuminating joy on the faces that had remained hidden in the night.

In an Afterward, Shane
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two entries for one book 1 1 Mar 02, 2017 08:25AM  
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Shane W. Evans is the illustrator of several children's books, including Homemade Love by bell hooks and Osceola: Memories of a Sharecropper's Daughter by Alan Govenar. He lives in Missouri.