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Eliza's Freedom Road: An Underground…

Eliza's Freedom Road: An Underground Railroad Diary (edition 2017)

by Jerdine Nolen (Author)

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584356,765 (3.5)None
A twelve-year-old slave girl begins writing in a journal where she documents her journey via the Underground Railroad from Alexandria, Virginia, to freedom in St. Catharines, Canada.
Title:Eliza's Freedom Road: An Underground Railroad Diary
Authors:Jerdine Nolen (Author)
Info:Simon & Schuster/Paula Wiseman Books (2017), Edition: Reprint, 176 pages
Collections:Your library

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Eliza's Freedom Road: An Underground Railroad Diary by Jerdine Nolen


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Told through her journal entries is the story of young Eliza, separated from her mother, who was sold away by the man who owned them both. As she embarks on a dangerous journey of her own, Eliza keeps both her memory of her mother and her hope for the future alive by remembering and sharing stories that her mother used to tell her. Eliza's mother is vivid even in her absence thanks to to stories Eliza tells. ( )
  ImperfectCJ | Feb 25, 2021 |
Eliza is a eleven year old slave girl who lives on a farm in Virginia. Her journey for freedom begins when she over hears her owner talk about a slave auction and her being traded away. Eliza flees in the middle of night and while on her jouney for freedom she records in her "Underground Railroad diary, fom Virginia to Canada. This is an amazing historical fiction, that is great for young readers ages 8 to 12 yo. Offers readers information about slavery, the underground railroad, and courage and inspiration. Can be used during Black History Month, or a unit on American history.Can also be used as a model to introduce students to journal writing. ( )
  lcisabell | Nov 9, 2011 |
**possible spoilers**

"Eliza's Freedom Road" is one of the best Historical Fiction books I have read. Told in a first person diary format, Ms. Nolen delivers a gripping story that is age appropriate for Tweens on up.

The story is about Eliza, a little black girl who has lost just about everyone dear to her. The sole person who is left in her life to love her is a friend of her mother's, Abbey. And it's a bitter sweet truth that to gain her freedom, Eliza will have leave this friend behind.

Before that happens though, the pair share with us the heritage of storytelling that is Eliza's mother, Jane Mae's, legacy. Her old stories provide Abbey and Eliza comfort, as does the diary that Eliza keeps. For you see, despite it's being against the law, she has been taught by her white mistress to read and write. It's a gift in so many ways: Allowing Eliza to record what her beloved mother told her, as well as what is happening in her life. And, in addition to that, the very knowledge is a secret treasure that she, and those who love her, can cherish.

It's through the diary that we learn about Eliza's life. How tenuous her happiness is. And it's how we learn about the Underground Railroad, and how Eliza, being naughty for once, meets the famous Harriet Tubman.

It's bitter sweet that Eliza finally gains freedom since it means that she must leave behind the only person who is left to love her; but this too is part of the knowledge that the book imparts.

Freakin' brilliant historical novel for younger children.

Too often people not trained in history, tend to paint everything as this-or-that, all good or all bad. That's not the case here. There are shades of gray, and they are painted well enough that even younger children will be able to understand that most 'real' people aren't 100% bad.

The treatment of slavery is age appropriate for Tweeners and even younger readers. The story provides a vivid, and sometimes heart-breaking picture of the evil of the institution, but doesn't delve into areas that are better left to adult tomes.

The diary format works well here. The little starts and stops, short chapters and long, make the book sound authentic.

HIGHLY recommend this book to teachers and homeschoolers and kids that just want a 'good read'. It would make a great addition to a history unit, and provide plenty of fodder for discussions either at school or at home.

Simply an outstanding historical novel. Blows the other Tweener historical fiction books, out of the water.

Pam T~
mom/blogger/historian ( )
1 vote PamFamilyLibrary | Jan 3, 2011 |
This book is specifically written for young adults about ages 9-12. I wanted to see if it was something my grand-daughter, who is 10, would be interested in and able to read. It's perfect. Eliza is an 11 year old slave living in Virginia when she begins her diary. Taught to read by a very enlightened mistress who was losing her sight, she begins the journal as a way of coping with the loss of her mother who had been sold to another plantation.

She gives us a simple but realistic picture of what life was like for young slave women in the period 1855 to 1867. While her mistress is gentle and kind, the master is not, and Eliza lives in constant fear of being ripped away from her remaining friends. The author uses the journal genre to show the process by which the "Friends", led by Harriet Tubman, were able to lead many escaped slaves on a journey from Virginia north to freedom in Canada via the 'underground railroad.' The process involved many dangerous escapades, much privation, and all too often, the painful lifetime parting from friends and relatives.

Before her mother left, Eliza's mother gave her daughter a picture quilt containing 12 squares. Each of the first 10 squares contained a 'story' which she told her daughter, and which Eliza repeated many times to reinforce it in her memory and to relate to others. The final two squares were left blank, so that Eliza could complete them with her own story when she got old enough. Her mother even left her a piece of blue satin cloth -material to be used to show a 'freedom-blue' sky. Eliza telling of these stories is interspersed throughout the book, and serve as examples of how slaves coped with their lives. For instance Eliza used the story of the fox and the rooster in a barnyard to help quiet a young boy's fears about a fox getting into a henhouse, and whether he'd be blamed. Another square shows Moses leading his people away from Pharoah to the promised land, a story often repeated and relished by American slaves.

The story is perfectly written for young adults who can relate to the emotions of the age. It will help them become acquainted with the hardships endured by earlier citizens of this country, and the bravery of many to overcome this institution. ( )
1 vote tututhefirst | Dec 20, 2010 |
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A twelve-year-old slave girl begins writing in a journal where she documents her journey via the Underground Railroad from Alexandria, Virginia, to freedom in St. Catharines, Canada.

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