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Unspoken: A Story From the Underground…

Unspoken: A Story From the Underground Railroad (original 2012; edition 2012)

by Henry Cole

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3887627,669 (4.4)3
Title:Unspoken: A Story From the Underground Railroad
Authors:Henry Cole
Info:Scholastic Press (2012), Hardcover, 40 pages
Tags:Read November 2012

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Unspoken: A Story From the Underground Railroad by Henry Cole (2012)


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This picture book is a very tense and quiet (silent, even) story that effectively conveys the danger facing escaping slaves. The art is drawn with a soft and lovely pencil shading, the beautifully portrayed Virginia farm setting reminds me of my own home in North Carolina.

This book would be an excellent story to share with a younger class learning about the history of slavery and the Civil War in the United States, it does an excellent job of bringing that huge conflict down to the scale of a human child and her bravery and selflessness. It's touching that the reader and the main character know almost nothing about the escaping slave, just that they are human and deserve to be treated with compassion. ( )
  motorbuffalo | Jun 23, 2017 |
This book is a wordless picture book. Because of this, I have mixed feelings about this book. I liked the book because the illustrations are vivid and and captivating. The entire book is colored in Sepia tone . The pictures appear as if they are hand drawn, with much attention to detail. For example, there is one page where the entire page is covered by leaves in a cornfield except for one eye of the little girl, who we presume is the main character as she is featured in most of the book. That image in reference to the title , Unspoken, speaks volumes. Something I did not like about the book is that it is a wordless book. Because of the genre of historical fiction, I feel as though the idea of the book would benefit from having at least a few , powerful statements in reference to the time period, especially if one has no knowledge of that time period. No one would know why the girl is hiding in the cornfield for example. The main idea of this story is to focus on helping those in need of help, like how the family helped the runaway slave that they found. Help those who cannot help themselves. ( )
  abeach5 | Feb 23, 2017 |
The book “Unspoken” was a book of many words expressed through drawings and reader interpretation. This powerful tale showed how courage and kindness can lead one to gain a genuine camaraderie with someone that is built on mutual trust. The illustrations of the book, coupled with the organization of the plot, are two of the main reasons why I enjoyed reading “Unspoken.” The illustrations were done very accurately and appropriately in accordance to the plot. For example, the illustrator used sequence and details on the young girls’ startled expression to show us that the young girl saw or heard something in the corn-husk. Our thoughts are confirmed when, on the next two pages, the reader sees an eye peering out from the corn-husk and the girl running away with a sign of terror on her face as a result. This type of organization was imperative in allowing the reader to accurately interpret that the young girl is frightened of something in the barn. I enjoyed how the author was able to confirm to the reader that indeed this story occurred during slavery in the Civil War when the young girl sees two bounty men holding up a sign with three words on it, “Wanted. Escaped! Reward!” I also enjoyed how the illustrations showed the young girl conquering her fears by having the courage to supply the runaway slave with food. If we had not had the sequence of illustrations of an eye peering from the corn-husk and bounty hunters, it would’ve been hard for the reader to realize that the person in the corn-husk was a runaway slave. The strategic detail of the pictures and organization of events that the illustrator was able to execute brought more power and suspense to the plot. ( )
  thodge3 | Feb 19, 2017 |
Unspoken is the story of a young girl that discovers a runaway slave hiding in her chicken coop. The illustrations tell the story of the unlikely partnership as the young slave makes their way to freedom. This book is notable for the illustrations and the deeper story hidden within them. ( )
  Cayetlin_Hardeman | Feb 4, 2017 |
This is a historical fiction wordless picture book about a young girl who finds a runaway slave in her barn. Instead of reporting the slave to authorities, the young girl brings the man food. Readers must look closely at the elaborate sketch drawings and make inferences about what is happening in this story.

Teaching Connections: making inferences, making predictions, summarizing, writing the words for the story, historical study of the Civil War era ( )
  EmmaNicolazzo | Dec 15, 2016 |
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To a librarian friend, who long ago ignited the spark that lit the lantern.
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Author's Note:When I was very little, I sat at the dining room table during Christmas and Thanksgiving dinners, and listened to elderly relatives tell Civil War stories - stories they had heard directly from people who had lived during the war!
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(Click to show. Warning: May contain spoilers.)
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Amazon.com Product Description (ISBN 0545399971, Hardcover)

A young girl's courage is tested in this haunting, wordless story.

When a farm girl discovers a runaway slave
hiding in the barn, she is at once
startled and frightened.

But the stranger's fearful eyes
weigh upon her conscience,
and she must make a difficult choice.
Will she have the courage to help him?

Unspoken gifts of humanity unite the girl
and the runaway as they each face a journey:
one following the North Star,
the other following her heart.

Henry Cole's unusual and original rendering
of the Underground Railroad
speaks directly to our deepest sense
of compassion.

(retrieved from Amazon Thu, 12 Mar 2015 18:17:57 -0400)

In this wordless picture book, a young Southern farm girl discovers a runaway slave hiding behind the corn crib in the barn and decides to help him.

(summary from another edition)

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