Thursday, February 5, 2009
Aunt Harriet's Underground Railroad in the Sky by Faith Ringgold
This book is a story of a young girl Cassie and her brother Be be learning about and experiencing the underground railroad through an imaginary journey through the sky. They see a train while on their journey and meet the conductor, Aunt Harriet who tells them all about the underground railroad and what life was life for slaves escaping the south. When Be be hopes on the train and leaves Cassie behind, she travels the railroad looking for him and experiences the life of a fugitive slave first hand. They are reunited in the end and celebrate the anniversary of Harriet Tubman's first flight to freedom.
The book has beautiful illustrations which add to the dream-like quality of the book. I think this book presents the very complicated issue of slavery in a way that children can understand. It can be appropriate for a range of age groups: as young as 1st but could also be used for 4th or 5th if combined with more on the topic of slavery.
How I would Use This Book:
This book could be used in a number of ways. When teaching a unit on slavery, this book could be a great way of teaching about Harriet Tubman as opposed to using a traditional biography. The book also includes a fun activity where students make their own railroad. This book could be combined with some drama type of activities, such as tableau and thought tracking. This book can also be used to connect the fight against slavery to modern actions against racism.