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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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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 worse picture book tells the story of a farm family and their hiding a runaway in their barn. The little girl in the story brings the runaway food in a napkin and the runaway makes a doll for her from the napkin. The story is about the quiet obstinance of people helping runaway slaves during the Civil war. The author says that is why the story is named "Unspoken" for the everyday people who quietly helped those in need. This silence is also a theme since the book is wordless which further makes the interactions between the characters that much more special. ( )
  NoelAbadie | Feb 3, 2016 |
I love love the illustrations in this book, and even though it has not word, just a front and back book cover explaining the plot and history that inspired the book.I feel that this is a great book to be used as a learning tool in a class setting - children can work in groups creating stories from the pictures before and of the authors notes are read. then go back and do it again from a new perspective, creating their own art to help tell the story. It could be used for teaching history and creating enthusiasm into research. it could create art lessons in pencil and the power of shading. Wow what a great way to learn. ( )
  Malynda2 | Feb 2, 2016 |
This book succeeds in telling a detailed story without the benefit of written words. Each beautifully illustrated page leads the reader further along into the story by revealing more and more visual details and insights. The story is very thought provoking and will capture the imaginations of its readers. Librarians and teachers could use it with students in a variety of ways. A creative writing idea could be writing a different ending for the story. An art idea could be drawing a different ending for the story. On each page, the teacher could ask questions about the illustrations that would require students to use inference in their responses. This book could introduce a study of the Underground Railroad. ( )
  cherieem | Jan 30, 2016 |
A beautiful book with a powerful message of hope and bravery. The beautiful, detailed pictures tell the story simply and eloquently.

Curricular connections: could be used in a history unit focusing on the time of the American Civil War; African American history; slavery. ( )
  linnea_simon | Jan 27, 2016 |
Although this book is wordless, it is suited for older children because of the content matter.

There is a girl who lives in the South during the Civil War era. While doing her chores, she sees a sad pair of eyes peering out from behind the corn rows. She is frightened at first, but somehow knows what is going on. So she starts sneaking out food for the mystery person hiding in her corn stalks. Soldiers come looking for a missing slave (we find this out through a poster they are holding), but since her family knows nothing about it, and the little girl stays hidden behind a wooden door listening, they find out nothing about the hidden visitor.

These sketches are breathtakingly beautiful in their detail. The full two page spread of the corn stalks with the pair of eyes looking out it my favorite followed by the two page spread of the wooden door that the girl is hidden behind and looking out a knot-hole from. The intricacies of the wood grain and the corn plants is amazing.

The author's note at the end explains why she wrote the book--because of the current location of her home in Virginia there are remnants of the Civil War and she is still surrounded by a dark period of American history. However, she wanted to tell a tale of this time period of courage and hope, not death and darkness.

This book would make a great kick off for a unit on the Civil War.
  WeaverJ | Dec 6, 2015 |
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To a librarian friend, who long ago ignited the spark that lit the lantern.
First words
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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