It is 1852 in Alexandria, Virginia. An orphaned slave, twelve-year-old Eliza has only the quilt her mother left her and the memory of the stories she told. Stories become Eliza’s lifeline to freedom after she takes to the night upon learning she will soon be traded. “Go East. Your back to the set of the sun until you come to the safe house where the candlelight lights the window.” With the words of Old Joe, the farmhand, in her ears, Eliza travels by night and sleeps by day, keeping her diary along the way.
Thoroughly researched by award-winning author Jerdine Nolin, Eliza’sFreedom Road brings to life a historical period of pain and triumph. Vivid details and the emotional nature of Eliza’s journal make her journey along the Underground Railroad powerful, accessible, and poignant.
Jerdine Nolen is the beloved author of many award-winning books, including Big Jabe; Thunder Rose, a Coretta Scott King Illlustrator Honor Book; and Hewitt Anderson’s Great Big Life, a Bank Street Best Book of the Year, all illustrated by Kadir Nelson. She is also the author of Eliza’s Freedom Road, illustrated by Shadra Strickland, which was an ALA/YALSA Best Fiction Nominee for Young Adults; Raising Dragons, illustrated by Elise Primavera, which received the Christopher Award; and Harvey Potter’s Balloon Farm, illustrated by Mark Buehner, which was made into a movie by the same name. Her other books include Calico Girl, A Kirkus Reviews Best Book of the Year, and Irene’s Wish, illustrated by A.G. Ford, which Kirkus Reviews called “delightful and memorable” in a starred review. Ms. Nolen is an educator and lives in Ellicott City, Maryland.
Shadra Strickland studied, design, writing, and illustration at Syracuse University and later went on to complete her MFA at the School of Visual Arts in New York City. She won the Ezra Jack Keats Award and the Coretta Scott King/John Steptoe Award for New Talent in 2009 for her work in her first picture book, Bird, written by Zetta Elliott. Strickland co-illustrated Our Children Can Soar, winner of a 2010 NAACP Image Award. She teaches illustration at Maryland Institute College of Art in Baltimore, Maryland. Visit her online at ShadraStrickland.com.