20 February 2013

Book Review: ALMOST TO FREEDOM by Vaunda Micheaux Nelson

ALMOST TO FREEDOM by Vaunda Micheaux Nelson, Illustrations by Colin Bootman

A couple weeks ago, my youngest daughter (age 8) came home from school bubbling over about a book her teacher read to them in class. She couldn't remember the name of the book, or the author, but she told me all about it. Her synopsis of the book:
It's about a little girl who was a slave, and she had a doll that she loved. But when her family escaped on that Underground Railroad thing (that isn't really a railroad underground), she dropped the doll and had to leave it behind. But the DOLL is the one telling the story!! And she was so sad when she got dropped, and she was so lonely...
(And I won't give you the rest of my sweet daughter's synopsis, because as I'm sure you know, if you've ever heard a child talk about a favorite book, they will tell you EVERY detail, and they never give spoiler alerts before filling you in on the endings.)
A few days later, I walked into a bookstore (Alamosa Books - an amazing independent bookstore in Albuquerque, with the most friendly and helpful staff), and saw ALMOST TO FREEDOM by Vaunda Micheaux Nelson on display. The gorgeous cover art pulled me in immediately, and when I read the blurb on the cover, I knew this was the book my daughter had been so excited about. I won the Mommy of the Year award when I surprised her with it the next morning, and of course we had to cuddle on the couch immediately to read it together.
I have to say, I should have read the book to myself first. I wasn't prepared for the plethora of tears I shed while trying to read this heartbreakingly sweet story! I had to stop several times to dry my eyes and find my voice. What an amazing way to introduce children to this era in American history. This should be a staple in elementary school libraries and home libraries alike!

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