Light in the Darkness

A Story about How Slaves Learned in Secret

Notable Children?s Book in the Language Arts (NCTE), 2014

Hardcover / ISBN-13: 9781423134954

USD: $16.99  /  CAD: $17.99

ON SALE: February 19th 2013

Genre: Children's Books / Juvenile Fiction / Historical / United States

PAGE COUNT: 40

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An enslaved mother and daughter learn to read in spite of great danger in this beautiful testament to the power of literacy, written and illustrated by an award-winning author/artist team.

Rosa and her mama go to school together-in the dark of night, silently, afraid that any noise they hear is a patroller on the lookout for escaped slaves. Their school is literally a hole in the ground, where they and other slaves of all ages gather to form letters out of sticks, scratch letters in the dirt, and pronounce their sounds in whispers. Young Rosa is eager to learn the letters and then the words, because after the words comes reading. But she must have patience, her mama reminds her, and keep her letters to herself when she's working on the plantation. If the Master catches them, it'll mean a whipping-one lash for each letter. No matter how slow and dangerous the process might be, Rosa is determined to learn, and pass on her learning to others.

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Reader Reviews

Praise

"In this tale, [Cline-Ransome] makes the point that learning was not just a dream of a few famous and accomplished men and women, but one that belonged to ordinary folk willing to risk their lives. Ransome's full-page watercolor paints-in beautiful shades of blue for the night and yellow for the the day-are a window, albeit somewhat gentle, into a slave's life for younger readers. A compelling story about those willing to risk '[a] lash for each letter'."—Kirkus Reviews
"Told from the perspective of Rosa, a girl who makes the dangerous nighttime journey to the lessons with her mother, the story effectively conveys the urgent dedication of the characters to their surreptitious schooling and their belief in the power of literacy.... Solid text and soft, skillful illustrations combine for a poignant tribute to the power of education and the human spirit."—School Library Journal
"Dramatic, deep-toned, full-page illustrations mostly dark because of the nighttime setting, skillfully match the vivid, rich language of the text. The expressive faces of the characters shine through the darkness, clearly conveying the senses of determination, fear, and hope which permeate the story. This will surely spark a good number of questions about the condition and treatment of slaves, and why they would go to such extremes to educate themselves."—Booklist
"The story illustrates the courageous acts that many slaves had to take in order to gain knowledge and freedom. Ransome's illustrations add to the mood and the danger inherent in this act. Recommended."—Library Media Connection
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