by Henry Cole
This wordless picture book depicts the story of a young girl living on a farm in Virginia with her grandparents during the Civil War. The pictures begin by showing Confederate soldiers at the farm either looking for escaped slaves or looking for food to eat. Later on we see the young girl getting potatoes from the barn cellar for dinner that evening when she hears rustling in the cellar. It turns out there is an escaped slave (presumably a girl) hiding in their cellar. It is illegal to house escaped slaves, and the soldiers return offering a reward looking for ths particular slave. Will the young girl disclose the escapee’s hiding place, or will she allow the escapee to continue her path north towards freedom?
It would be a great upper elementary read-aloud, think-aloud book when discussing how illustrations connect to the text, or how one can infer much just by examining the illustrations. It would also be a great addition to a Civil War unit after students have built some schema on the Civil War and slavery. They could write the words to this book as a class activity!
Comprehension Strategies: Determining Importance, Inferring, Synthesizing (as there are no words, my thoughts were constantly changing trying to make a cohesive story)
Topics: Civil War, Slavery, Escaped Slaves, Doing What’s Right vs. Doing What’s Lawful