Eliza's Freedom Road: An Underground Railroad Diary

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Paperback - Christopher Award–winning author Jerdine Nolen imagines a young woman’s journey from slavery to freedom in this intimate and powerful novel that was named an ALA/YALSA Best Fiction for Young Adults nominee.

It is 1854 in Alexandria, Virginia. Eliza’s mother has been sold away and Eliza is left as a slave on a Virginia farm. It is Abbey, the cook, who looks after Eliza, when she isn’t taking care of the Mistress. Eliza has only the quilt her mother left her and the stories her mother told to keep her mother’s memory close.

When the Mistress’s health begins to fail and Eliza overhears the Master talk of the Slave sale auction and of Eliza being traded, she takes to the night. She follows the path and the words of the farmhand Old Joe: “Travel the night. Sleep the day…Go east. Keep your back to the setting of the sun. Come to the safe house with a candlelight in the window…That gal, Harriet, she’ll take you.”

All the while, Eliza recites the stories her mother taught her as she travels along her freedom road from Mary’s Land to Pennsylvania to Freedom’s Gate in St. Catharines, Canada, where she finds not only her freedom but also more than she could have hoped for.

In praise of the book, Alma Powell said, “A story of hope, determination, and the triumph of the human spirit.”

Age Range:  8 - 12       Grade:  3 - 7     Guided Reading: S                             

Lexile level:  670L