Parry Sound Books

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Good Literature for Children & Adults

Two books about the underground railroad

two-books-about-the-underground-railroad-200The Runaway Quilt By Jennifer Chiaverini This is the fourth novel in the popular Elm Creek Quilt series. The book takes us back in time to 1895 and the ancestors of Sylvia Compson, one of a group of quilting friends.

Sylvia’s family home has become the location of a quilting business and a retreat, with classes for quilters.

When Sylvia finds the journal of her ancestor, Gerda, written in the mid to late 1800s, she discovers not only her own family history, but the history of her community during the years when slaves passed through her farm on the underground railroad.

Family history

As the journal reveals to Sylvia the secrets hidden by her family, she also learns about the history of the quilts of the time.

We discover the history of the development of quilt patterns that were designed to indicate that a home was a safe haven for runaway slaves as they travelled through Pennsylvania on their way to Canada.

The Freedom of Jenny By Julie Burtinshaw

This is a book for teens about the underground railroad as told by Jenny, a young girl who is a slave with her family in Missouri.

Jenny knows that compared to the brutality she has heard about, her family suffers less than many, but they have little control over their own lives.

It is not until her father is able to buy their freedom that they travel to California during the gold rush.

As laws change, and California becomes a less safe place, the family decides to travel to the British colony on Vancouver Island, and from there to settle on Saltspring Island.

It is a fascinating novel, of a little known time in Canadian history.

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