Midweek gem

“Unspoken; A Story from the Underground Railroad,” by Henry Cole, Scholastic Press, 40 pages, $16.99 ages 4 and up.

  image

Sometimes the most profound stories are wordless. Here, author-illustrator (and former schoolteacher) Henry Cole renders a tense and moving tale of the Underground Railroad with full-page graphite on charcoal paper illustrations. The weighty, sepia toned palette indicate that this story will challenge young readers’ understanding of right and wrong.  In a barn on her family farm, a young girl discovers a runaway slave.  Despite the presence of bounty hunters, she chooses to help this person find freedom.  The reader never sees the runaway; rather we see the slave as the girl does – as a wary eye peering out of a bushel of corn.  (There are hints in the images that the stranger may be a child.) In the end notes, we learn that the inspiration for this tale came from family members who told Civil War stories around the dinner table at the Cole dairy farm in Purcellville, Virginia. Unspoken will generate valuable discussion and interest about compassion under pressure while showing that courage is never limited by age, gender or race.

image

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s