In Book One of his diary, Corey Birdsong's fate changes when his father flees the Kentucky plantation where they are slaves. Now Corey and his mother must head towards freedom, too, along the Underground Railroad.
As part of the relaunch of the My America series, Sharon Dennis Wyeth introduces readers to Corey Birdsong, a slave boy in antebellum Kentucky. This is the story of his family's attempt to escape.
Corey Birdsong is a lively young boy in search of freedom in the same country that made an economy of slavery. He and his family are owned by the Hart family of Kentucky. But, when Corey's father, Roland, flees to the North and Corey and his mother follow.
Corey records his daily life on the Hart farm with incredible insight and honesty, and later he describes the difficult journey along the "Underground Railroad" to the North to be reunited with his father. With the help of many kind strangers, Corey, his parents, and his new baby sister arrive afely in Canada.
Sharon Dennis Wyeth has written nearly fifty books for children, including several books in the My America series. She is also a poet, and a member of the Cave Canem Fellowship for African-American Poets. She lives in Upper Montclair, New Jersey.
Secretly taught by his father to read and write, a nine-year-old slave keeps a diary but knows that he must hide it from his owner. Corey's spelling and grammar improve over time as he learns from others and from observation. In addition to recording life on a Kentucky farm in 1857, the journal traces the boy's flight to freedom by way of the Underground Railroad. The writing is sparse but compelling, pulling readers along every dangerous step of the way. Wyeth infuses the narrative with historic references to people like Frederick Douglas but also acknowledges the nameless men and women who believed in freedom enough to risk their lives to help others. The historical note and photographs strengthen the link between fact and fiction.
---School Library Journal, June 2001
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