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Underground: Finding the Light to Freedom Hardcover – Jan 18 2011

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Product Details

  • Hardcover: 32 pages
  • Publisher: Roaring Brook Press; 1 edition (Jan. 18 2011)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1596435380
  • ISBN-13: 978-1596435384
  • Product Dimensions: 22.5 x 0.8 x 28.7 cm
  • Shipping Weight: 408 g
  • Average Customer Review: Be the first to review this item
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: #226,244 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)
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Product Description


“A stellar introduction to the Underground Railroad… Though subdued in palette until the eruption of color as the figures reach the threshold of freedom, the author's collaged nocturnal paintings shimmer with an arresting luminescence.” ―Starred, School Library Journal

“Powerfully expressive imagery will sweep young viewers into this suspenseful journey along the Underground Railroad…Lengthier accounts of travel on the Underground Railroad abound, but few if any portray the experience with such compelling immediacy.” ―Starred, Kirkus Reviews

“With haunting pictures and a few simple sentences, Evans introduces beginning readers to a crucial piece of American history…Telling the story without overwhelming readers is a delicate task, but Evans walks the line perfectly.” ―Starred, Publishers Weekly

“The mixed-media illustrations are the main focus here, and they're luminous and haunting. The tension between dark and light visually pulses through the spreads: the whites of the escaping family's eyes gleam in cut-paper collage, the slender crescent of a moon shines overhead, and the amber glow from a window or a searcher's torch stands out with startling distinction in scenes otherwise constituted almost entirely from shadowy blues and blacks.” ―Starred, BCCB

“The minimal text drums like a heartbeat. From terror to triumph, a perfect evocation for very young readers of what it means to escape from bondage.” ―Washington Post

“The achievement of ‘Underground' is to summon up for young readers the spirit and emotions -- desperation, fear and, ultimately, celebration -- of the Underground Railroad…This is more a poetic invocation of slavery and freedom than a real history. Young readers will need further explanation; older readers will want it. But the triumphant smile of a father, holding a newborn aloft in the boldly yellow sunshine requires no explaining at all.” ―New York Times Book Review

“Shane W. Evans has created a book in which the emotional experience of the journey north is dominant.” ―Orlando Sentinel

“As the runaways move North, the sky lightens, culminating in a brilliant yellow on the book's last spread. This stunning simplicity respects the young audience and makes us want to join in with the book's closing words…” ―BookPage

“Evans' dark, angular pencil sketches, overlaid by shades of deep blue and green, are highly effective -- and as the slaves reach safety, vibrant yellows and oranges shout the glory of freedom.” ―Chicago Sun-Times

About the Author

SHANE EVANS has illustrated numerous books for children, including the Boston Globe-Horn Book Award winner Shanna's Ballerina Show. He attributes much of his influence to his travels to Africa, South America, Asia, Europe, the Caribbean, and much of the United States. He is a firm believer in education and creative development for all people.

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Inside This Book

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Front Cover | Copyright | Excerpt | Back Cover
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Customer Reviews

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Most Helpful Customer Reviews on (beta) HASH(0x9f7b9d50) out of 5 stars 16 reviews
5 of 5 people found the following review helpful
HASH(0x9f81d630) out of 5 stars Rutgers University Project on Economics and Children April 2 2011
By Yana V. Rodgers - Published on
Format: Hardcover
A family living in the bonds of slavery decides to make the dangerous attempt to find freedom. Along the way they find safe havens and friends of the Underground Railroad. The family members experience fear and fatigue along the way, but they keep going until they can wake up free to decide their own destinies.

With its sparse text, this picture book relies more on striking images to communicate to young readers the risks that enslaved people took to escape from bondage, and the joys they experienced upon first reaching a free state. A brief author's note provides more information about the Underground Railroad, which parents and teachers can use to talk with young learners about the history of slavery in the United States.
2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
HASH(0x9f6b99f0) out of 5 stars Finding the Light May 24 2012
By Maria Rendon - Published on
Format: Hardcover
Underground by Shane W. Evans is a picture book about the underground railroad.

With very few words and powerful imagery Evans does a beautiful job portraying

the fear of a family as they sneak through the night in search for freedom. The reader

is taken through the night with this family as they make their journey.

The illustrations throughout the book are very dark until the family reach freedom and see the sun rise again.

This book is ideal for children from pre-k to third grade.
1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
HASH(0x9f5a57ec) out of 5 stars The journey to Freedom May 28 2012
By Marisa - Published on
Format: Hardcover
Underground is a very moving picture book with minimal words. The few words that are in the book have strong meaning which hold a deeper connection with the given illustrations. It shows how many people of color suffered during slavery just to have some kind of freedom. This book should be used in classroom when history and slavery is introduces. Since there are minimal words teachers can have discussions of how some of these people may have felt when searching for freedom. The book Underground can be used to help young children understand the concept of the Underground Railroad that was developed to help slaves make their freedom journey a little easier. Author Shane W. Evans did a wonderful job creating and illustrating this book about historical events that are still learned about today.
1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
HASH(0x9fa91510) out of 5 stars An important story for children March 24 2012
By My 2 Cents - Published on
Format: Hardcover
Underground is one family's story of their quest to seek a better life -- a life of "freedom". The story paints a vivid picture, with very few words, about the fear and exhaustion the family faced as they tried to escape from slavery, as well as the kindness of some who helped them along the way.

This would be a great book to introduce young children to the subject of "slavery". The illustrations are very dark in color, as the family begins their escape at night. As the family progresses along their journey toward freedom, the illustrations become brighter in color until the family and the reader can finally see the sun, lifting a baby in the process toward the sky in celebration.

Recommended for Pre-school - grade 3 - (5/5 stars)
1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
HASH(0x9fbb8e1c) out of 5 stars A dark Story June 1 2012
By MsAlyssa - Published on
Format: Hardcover
This book can be used as an introduction of the unit Underground Railroad and slavery. Underground is a picture book with minimal text which adds value to the illustrations. Practically through the whole book the illustrator, Evans, uses all the dark colors to represent the dark journey one family portrayed. It was important for each page to illustrate the characters' actions and emotion to understand what is happening in the story. I do not recommend this book to early readers because it is important for readers to know the insight of this misfortunate historical happening.