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True North: A Novel of the Underground Railroad
ISBN: 9780590205238
Author: Lasky, Kathryn
Publisher: Scholastic
Published: May 1996
Retail: $14.95    OUR PRICE: $2.99
     You Save 80%
Binding Type: Hardcover
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Annotation: Because of the strong influence which her grandfather, an abolitionist, has in her life, fourteen-year-old Lucy assists a fugitive slave girl in her escape
Additional Information
Physical Information: 1.10" H x 8.57" L x 5.88" W 208 pages
Bargain Category: Social Issues, Middle School, Historical Fiction, High School, Growing Up
Grade level(s): 6th, 7th, 8th, 9th
 
Descriptions, Reviews, Etc.
Reviewed by Horn Book Guide Reviews (Horn Book Guide Reviews 1997)
Resentful of the preparations for her sister's wedding, Lucy prefers the company of her abolitionist grandfather. Simultaneously, Afrika, a slave, escapes north on the Underground Railroad. Their lives intersect when Afrika gets to Boston and unexpectedly needs Lucy's help in eluding slave catchers and continuing on to Canada. Although the ending is rushed and unrealistic, the fast-paced novel is exciting and well researched. Copyright 1998 Horn Book Guide Reviews
Reviewed by Publishers Weekly Reviews (PW Reviews 1996 July #3)
Lasky (The Night Journey) again combines suspenseful fiction with history as she intersects the lives of two 19th-century adolescent girls: Afrika, a run-away slave from a Virginia plantation, and Lucy, a restless young socialite from Boston. While Afrika travels the Underground Railroad, dodging slave catchers and their hounds, Lucy prepares for her sister's upcoming wedding to a prominent New Yorker even though she would rather be helping her grandfather with his abolitionist efforts. The paths of the two girls converge when Lucy discovers Afrika hiding in her grandfather's house after "Pap" has died from a stroke. Together, the two girls embark on a dangerous journey to the Canadian border. Both Afrika and Lucy are, from the beginning, admirable, likable heroines, but the true colors of other characters are not revealed until long after the girls' daring trip. Lasky clearly illustrates the tyranny of slave masters, the support of slave labor in the North, the restrictions placed on 19th-century women and the philosophies of such revolutionaries as Robert Gould Shaw, Abigail Adams and Ralph Waldo Emerson (each of whom plays a minor role in this riveting drama). Telling her story with sensitivity and flair, the author amply fulfills the goal she states in an afterword: to write "within the structures of logic and judicious imagination." Ages 12-up. (Sept.) Copyright 1996 Cahners Business Information.
Reviewed by School Library Journal Reviews (SLJ Reviews 1996 December)
Gr 6-9-An excellent work of historical fiction, carefully researched and poignantly told. In Virginia's Great Dismal Swamp in 1858, 14-year-old Afrika defies Harriet Tubman and chooses to stay with her dying newborn baby while the others continue to travel north. Afterwards, she resumes her flight from slavery to freedom alone. Meanwhile, Lucy Bradford of Boston finds the hoopla surrounding her older sister's wedding a total bore. She looks for some excitement and finds more than she bargained for when she discovers the young slave hiding in her grandfather's house. Suddenly, Lucy's predictable life is turned upside down as she helps the girl continue north. After Afrika reaches the safety of Canada and Lucy returns home, the two write to one another regularly. Finally, five decades later, Lucy welcomes Afrika to her Boston home. The two main characters are resilient, appealing, and complex. As the story switches back and forth from one to the other, the inevitability of their encounter and readers' curiosity about the circumstances under which this meeting will occur create a page-turning scenario. The grim realities of slavery are unforgettably revealed through Afrika, and the contrast between her life and Lucy's is starkly and effectively conveyed. The detailed settings add to the authenticity of the telling. Young people who have enjoyed Jennifer Armstrong's Steal Away (Orchard, 1992) will find Lasky's novel another thought-provoking look at this tumultuous period in U.S. history.-Carol Schene, Taunton Public Schools, MA