Freedom's School

by Lesa Cline-Ransome and James Ransome

This portrait of a fictional community’s efforts to establish a school for... read more

This portrait of a fictional community’s efforts to establish a school for African American children begins on the title page with an illustration of the newly arrived teacher and a newspaper beside her on the bench with the headline “Thirteenth Amendment Ends Slavery.” Lizzie and Paul’s Mama tells them that “bein’ free means we got to work harder than ever before. And I don’t just mean in the field. Real freedom means ’rithmetic and writing.” After the children start attending a one-room school house where classes are taught by an African American woman, they face some obstacles, including harassment from white boys during the walk to school. But the real challenge comes when the school is burned down. Paul and Lizzie try to continue practicing their reading and writing at home. When the weather gets warmer, Mizz Howard teaches outside, on the site of the burned-down school. In the background, the children can see and hear a new school being built.The dramatic story is told through Lizzie’s distinctive voice, while the pencil and watercolor illustrations add historical detail. (Ages 5–10)

© Cooperative Children's Book Center, Univ. of Wisconsin - Madison, 2016

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