The Clothesline Code by Janet Halfmann

The Clothesline Code by Janet Halfmann is the fascinating story of Lucy Ann and Dabney Walker, who risked it all to save lives.

After learning about the way the Union intelligence camp used flag codes to communicate over long distances, Dabney Walker and his wife Lucy Ann devised a way to use laundry to create a clothesline code to send signals across the river, putting the Walkers–especially Lucy Ann–in grave danger.

This story shares the bravery of the Walkers, and how their efforts helped the Union army prepare to battle the Confederate army in the spring. The Afterword provides more information about these courageous people and the time period.

Sharing an important and, perhaps not as well known, story from this time period in history is the perfect way to celebrate Black History Month and honor the sacrifices many Blacks made to help the Union. Halfmann’s books never disappoint.

Rating: 🙂 🙂 🙂 🙂 🙂

  • Publisher : Brandylane Publishers, Inc. (February 1, 2021)
  • Language : English
  • Hardcover : 36 pages
  • ISBN-10 : 1951565576
  • ISBN-13 : 978-1951565572
  • Reading age : 6 – 11 years

I received a digital copy of this book from the author. This review contains my honest opinions, which I have not been compensated for in any way.

Midnight Teacher by Janet Halfmann

Midnight Teacher by Janet Halfmann is the story of one woman’s courageous journey to improve the lives of others through literacy.

Born into slavery, Lilly Ann Granderson was sold to a slave owner in Kentucky after the death of her mother. The master’s children would often play school and gave Lilly an old speller and taught her to read. She began sharing this gift of reading with others on the plantation. Once the owner died, she was sold to a cotton plantation in Mississippi, where it was illegal for slaves to learn to read. Undeterred, she restarted her school, teaching late at night to avoid being caught. The school grew. When patrollers discovered the slave school Lilly faced a hard punishment, but the authorities eventually ruled there was no law against a slave teaching other slaves.

What I admire about Halfmann’s biographies is that she highlights people who have made a difference in this world long past the pivotal times in which they lived. Granderson’s story displays her tremendous strength and determination to offer a gift that others took for granted because it was never a right denied to them. She knew the risks and faced them without fear of the consequences because she believed education was the path to freedom for her people. Between Halfmann’s moving text and London Ladd’s stunning artwork, the reader is immediately drawn into Granderson’s story.

A perfect book for any school or personal library, Midnight Teacher could inspire many school projects and empower young people to action for the causes for which they are passionate.

Highly recommended!

Rating: 🙂 🙂 🙂 🙂 🙂

Grades 1-6
Reading Level Grades 3-6
Lexile Measure: 950 (What’s this?)
Hardcover: 40 pages
Publisher: Lee & Low Books; Illustrated edition (February 13, 2018)
Language: English
ISBN-10: 1620141639
ISBN-13: 978-1620141632

I received a copy of this book from the publisher. This review contains my honest opinions, which I have not been compensated for in any way.

Coming in February: Midnight Teacher by Janet Halfmann

Halfmann tells the powerful story of Lily Ann Granderson, an enslaved woman who “believed the path to freedom was through education.” Ladd’s rich, naturalistic acrylic-and-pencil images depict Granderson’s upbringing in Kentucky, where she learned to read and write in secret, then shared her knowledge with other children. As an enslaved adult in Mississippi, Granderson risked punishment by holding night classes in an empty cabin: “Landowners feared that if the enslaved could read, they would discover that some northerners wanted slavery abolished.” After the school is discovered, Granderson is shocked to learn that she won’t be punished (Halfmann speculates about why she might have escaped punishment in an afterword) and reopens her school, teaching as a free woman for many more years. The painful but uplifting narrative may spark readers’ curiosity about other enslaved individuals whose stories have not yet been told.

Age Range: 7 – 11 years
Grade Level: 3 – 4
Hardcover: 40 pages
Publisher: Lee & Low Books; Illustrated edition (February 6, 2018)
Language: English
ISBN-10: 1620141639
ISBN-13: 978-1620141632

Pre-order from Amazon or other online retailers.

Celebrate Black History Month with a Good Book

thestoryofrubybridgesCelebrate the 50th anniversary of the first African American child to integrate a New Orleans school with this paperback reissue!

The year is 1960, and six-year-old Ruby Bridges and her family have recently moved from Mississippi to New Orleans in search of a better life. When a judge orders Ruby to attend first grade at William Frantz Elementary, an all-white school, Ruby must face angry mobs of parents who refuse to send their children to school with her. Told with Robert Coles’ powerful narrative and dramatically illustrated by George Ford, Ruby’s story of courage, faith, and hope is now available in this special 50th anniversary edition with an updated afterword!

  • Reading level: Ages 4 and up
  • Paperback: 32 pages
  • Publisher: Scholastic Paperbacks; Rep Anv Sp edition (September 1, 2010)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0439472261
  • ISBN-13: 978-0439472265

What do all these people have in common: the first man to die in the American Revolution, a onetime chief of the Crow Nation, the inventors of peanut butter
and the portable X-ray machine, and the first person to make a wooden clock in this country? They were all great African Americans. For parents and teachers
interested in fostering cultural awareness among children of all races, this book includes more than 70 hands-on activities, songs, and games that teach kidsAA
about the people, experiences, and events that shaped African American history. This expanded edition contains new material throughout, including additional information and biographies. Children will have fun designing an African mask, making a medallion like those worn by early abolitionists, playing the rhyming game “Juba,” inventing Brer Rabbit riddles, and creating a unity cup for Kwanzaa. Along the way they will learn about inspiring African American artists, inventors, and heroes like Harriet Tubman, Benjamin Banneker, Rosa Parks, Langston Hughes, and Louis Armstrong, to name a few.

  • Reading level: Ages 7 and up
  • Paperback: 256 pages
  • Publisher: Chicago Review Press; 2nd edition (June 1, 2007)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1556526539
  • ISBN-13: 978-1556526534

black starsAFRICAN AMERICAN HISTORY COMES TO LIFE

Discover why young people all over
the country are reading the Black Stars biographies of African American heroes.
Here is what you want to know about the lives of brave black men and women
during the Civil Rights Movement:
* LOUIS “SATCHMO” ARMSTRONG
* MARY MCLEOD BETHUNE
* MAJOR GENERAL BENJAMIN O. DAVIS JR.
* W. E. B. DUBOIS
* LIEUTENANT HENRY O. FLIPPER
* MARCUS GARVEY
* MARTIN LUTHER KING JR.
* THURGOOD MARSHALL
* ROSA PARKS
* ADAM CLAYTON POWELL JR.
* PHILIP RANDOLPH
* PAUL ROBESON
* JACKIE ROBINSON
* BOOKER T. WASHINGTON
* IDA B. WELLS-BARNETT
* CARTER G. WOODSON
* WHITNEY M. YOUNG JR.

  • Reading level: Ages 11 and up
  • Paperback: 128 pages
  • Publisher: Wiley; 1 edition (November 15, 2002)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 047122068X
  • ISBN-13: 978-0471220688

Coretta Scott King winner Andrea Davis Pinkney brings her talents to a brand-new Dear America diary about the Civil Rights Movement.Dear-America-With-the-Might-of-Angels-198x282

In the fall of 1955, twelve-year-old Dawn Rae Johnson’s life turns upside down. After the Supreme Court ruling in Brown v. Board of Education, Dawnie learns she will be attending a previously all-white school. She’s the only one of her friends to go to this new school and to leave the comfort of all that is familiar to face great uncertainty in the school year ahead.

However, not everyone supports integration and much of the town is outraged at the decision. Dawnie must endure the harsh realities of racism firsthand, while continuing to work hard to get a good education and prove she deserves the opportunity. But the backlash against Dawnie’s attendance of an all-white school is more than she’s prepared for. When her father loses his job as a result, and her little brother is constantly bullied, Dawnie has to wonder if it’s worth it. In time, Dawnie learns that the true meaning of justice comes from remaining faithful to the integrity within oneself.

  • Reading level: Ages 8 and up
  • Hardcover: 336 pages
  • Publisher: Scholastic Inc. (September 1, 2011)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0545297052
  • ISBN-13: 978-0545297059

jackie

01-02 Golden Sower Award Masterlist (YA Cat.) and 00 Pennsylvania Keystone to Reading Book Award (Intermed. Cat.)

Like every other kid in his class, Joe Stoshack has to write a report on an African American who’s made an important contribution to society. Unlike every other kid in his class, Joe has a special talent: with the help of old baseball cards, he can travel through time. So for his report, Joe decides to go back to meet one of the greatest baseball players ever, Jackie Robinson, to find out what it was like to be the man who broke baseball’s color barrier. Joe plans on writing a prize-winning report. But he doesn’t plan on a trip that will for a short time change the color of his skin–and forever change his view of history and his definition of courage.

  • Reading level: Ages 8 and up
  • Paperback: 160 pages
  • Publisher: HarperCollins (February 2, 2000)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0380800845
  • ISBN-13: 978-0380800841

Seven Miles to Freedom by Janet Halfmann

So engaging it could be fiction, Seven Miles to Freedom: The Robert Smalls Story by Janet Halfmann should be in American classrooms everywhere.

The story of Robert Smalls begins in 1939 with his birth into slavery in Charleston, South Carolina. A favored servant, Smalls has a decent life for a slave, but he witnesses firsthand the cruelty of this Peculiar Institution. As he grows from child into man, Smalls falls in love and longs for freedom for him and his family. Seven Miles to Freedom shares how he leads a plot to steal a Confederate steamboat and pilots it into Union held territory.

What a fascinating story! My Civil War collection is the most extensive in my home library. I have numerous non-fiction titles about a variety of topics on the War between the States. I will proudly add Seven Miles to Freedom by Janet Halfmann to my collection.

Having enjoyed Halfmann’s Good Night, Little Sea Otter and Fur and Feathers, I knew the writing would be superb; but it can be difficult to make history interesting for young readers. Halfmann makes it look easy. It’s a true historical action adventure on the Atlantic. I wasn’t sure how I would like the impressionistic artwork for this book, but in the end I decided that Duane Smith’s creations were the perfect complement to the story. His style allows the reader to imagine this being any African-American slave’s story. Granted it is Smalls’s story, but the fact remains there were many brave African-Americans who helped the Union win the Civil War.

It’s no wonder that Seven Miles to Freedom has won so many honors and awards.  If you want to teach your children history in an engaging manner, you’ll want to pick up a copy of this one.

Rating:  🙂 🙂 🙂 🙂 🙂

  • Publisher:Lee & Low Books
  • ISBN-10:9781600602320
  • ISBN-13: 978-1600602320
  • SRP:  $17.95

I received a copy of this book from the publisher in exchange for my honest opinions. I received no monetary compensation to provide this review.