The tale of Under the Freedom Tree is a moving historical account of bravery and tenacity and inner conviction. Susan VanHecke’s beautifully written account of three runaway slaves who became contraband of war is the type of story that stays with a reader long after the final page is turned. And, illustrator London Ladd’s heartfelt renditions of tragedy and triumph breathe life into the bold acts that ultimately played convincing roles in Lincoln’s decision to craft the Emancipation Proclamation. Folks, it was and is a true honor to create a Discussion and Activity Guide for this incredible story. It’s a keeper, for certain.
Mary Smith Peake - my hero!!!!!There are number of critical players in Under the Freedom Tree, people who changed history because of their beliefs in civil rights for all. For instance, there are Frank Baker, James Townsend, and Shepard Mallory – the three runaway slaves who risked their lives to find asylum at Fort Monroe, Virginia. Then, there’s General Benjamin Butler of the Union Army who deemed these men as ‘chattel’ and refused to return them to Confederate Army. And my most favorite person in the story – one that I’ve come to love – is Mary Smith Peake, the heroic teacher who courageously taught the children of the Slabtown community to read under the shade of a broad-limbed Live Oak – The Freedom Tree.
The guide is crafted in such a way that students will be able to retell this poignant story time and time again. It is my hope that, through the writing, matching, and historical sequencing activities offered in the guide, this remarkable recounting of the courageous individuals introduced in Under the Freedom Tree are celebrated forever.
on 2014-11-26 12:24 by Debbie Gonzales
Note! The guide created for UNDER THE FREEDOM TREE has been included as a part of a review for the School Library Journal's Booktalks to Go: History in Picture Books. This amazing book is keeping some great company with several other fantastic titles. Now that's something to be thankful for, isn't it?