From the publisher: "One night in 1861, three escaped slaves made their way from the Confederate line to a Union-held fort. The runaways were declared 'contraband of war' and granted protection. As word spread, thousands of runaway slaves poured into the fort, seeking their freedom. These 'contrabands' made a home for themselves, building the first African American community in the country. In 1863, they bore witness to one of the first readings of the Emancipation Proclamation in the South."
Though students may be able to read the short lines that comprise this lyrical story-in-verse, many will need support understanding the imagery and historical context. Every time I read through this beautiful book, something else caught my attention, giving me that treasured gift of completely engaging my imagination to reflect on and visualize the scenes being described. And I loved how the author keeps referring back to the grand oak tree that witnessed many of these events and still stands today. An Author's Note gives more facts about the events of the story and the Emancipation Oak.
EL - ADVISABLE Reviewed by P.K.Foster, teacher-librarian