Velasquez's illustrations are sweeping and detailed
and perfectly match the
text. Strong and compelling.
From School Library Journal:
Narrated by Kezia, the story is filled with emotion and suspense.
dramatic illustrations make powerful use of light and shadow,
composition, and rich colors in this wrenching yet inspirational
- Anna DeWind Walls, Milwaukee Public Library
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The anguish of family separation under slavery is at the heart
of this moving picture book told in the voice of Kezia, a young
girl in Fredericksburg, Virginia, who is helped by her mother
to escape to Canada. Velasquez' bold oil paintings show the
cruelty of the slave owner's selling Kezia's dad. In contrast
are the pictures depicting the supportive ties that give Kezia
the strength to attend a secret school and then to wrench herself
from her beloved mother and teacher and run to freedom. Along
with the personal story, children will be interested in the
history that is part of the pictures and explained in a final
note, especially the description of the "clothesline telegraph," which
made use of a white shirt to signal that it wasn't safe to run
and a red one to mean, "Go!" The double-page spread
of a red shirt swinging on the line is like a shout of triumph.
- Hazel Rochman
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