Cover image for A good night for freedom
A good night for freedom
Publication Information:
New York : Holiday House, c2004.
Physical Description:
[32] p. : col. ill. ; 27 cm.
Added Author:
Hallie discovers two runaway slaves hiding in Levi Coffin's home and must decide whether to turn them in or help them escape to freedom. Includes historical notes on the Underground Railroad and abolitionists Levi and Catharine Coffin.


Material Type
Call Number
Item Available
Book EASY MOR 1 1

On Order



Hallie discovers two runaway slaves hiding in Levi Coffin's house and must choose between protecting herself and her family or helping the two strangers she's only just met.

Reviews 5

Publisher's Weekly Review

Loosely based on events that occurred in 1839 Indiana, this gripping tale opens as Hallie, who sells butter to neighbors, leaves a delivery in the cellar of the house owned by Quakers Catharine and Levi Coffin (who is considered by many to be president of the Underground Railroad, as stated in an author's note). There Hallie encounters two girls who can only be runaway slaves-the first she has ever seen. As the startled child races home, slave catchers on horseback tell her to give her father a notice offering a reward for the return of the "Negro girls." Confused, she asks Pa about the situation in general terms. He responds that while he doesn't like slavery, those who help runaways break the law, exposing themselves to stiff fines as well as harassment: "We're not meddlin'." Hallie then visits Levi Coffin, who says, "It is right to listen to thy father.... But thou has a conscience, child." How she follows that conscience makes for a thoroughly satisfying denouement. In her first picture book, Morrow creates an insightful narrative with many trenchant moments. One of the runaway girls says she plans to work and earn "buckets of coins." Hallie, who has just announced she's buying red ribbon with her butter money, asks, "What you fixin' on buyin'?" "Mama," replies the girl. Jenkins (A Kenya Christmas) meshes the real and abstract, and the drama is heightened by his juxtaposition of lifelike characters in somber costumes against backgrounds that feature graphic patterns in wild colors. Ages 4-8. (Feb.) (c) Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved

Horn Book Review

Hallie describes the day in 1839 when she discovers two runaway slave girls hiding out in her neighbors' home. Hallie's narration isn't always convincing, but her dilemma is: should she listen to her well-meaning, law-abiding father or to her conscience? Jenkins's brooding, collage-style, mixed-media art helps flesh out the characters. Reading list, websites. (c) Copyright 2010. The Horn Book, Inc., a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted. All rights reserved.

Booklist Review

K-Gr. 4. Inspired by the true account of two runaway slave sisters who were hidden by Underground Railroad leader Levi Coffin in his home in Indiana in the 1830s, this dramatic picture book relates the story from the viewpoint of a white child, Hallie, who helps sisters Susan and Margaret escape. Although Hallie's Pa doesn't like slavery, it's law, and he is not meddling. But Hallie does meddle. When the slave catchers come, she points them the wrong way.enkins' mixed-media illustrations are packed with action, showing the small child standing up to the brutal men on horseback.ust as moving are the close-up pictures of Hallie talking with the runaways, who are nearly Hallie's own age, as they hide in the Coffins' cellar. The climax is the sisters' revelation of how slavery has torn them from their mother. Use this with Holocaust stories about the roles of the rescuer and bystander in evil times. A brief historical note about the Quakers Levi and Catharine Coffin, who provided a safe haven for about 2,000 slaves escaping to Canada, concludes. --Hazel Rochman Copyright 2004 Booklist

School Library Journal Review

Gr 1-4-In the winter of 1839, Hallie discovers two runaway slave girls in the cellar of Quaker abolitionist Levi Coffin. She finds herself in a predicament when slave hunters arrive and her Pa advises her not to meddle in their business. As she struggles with her conscience, she weighs the concepts of freedom and obedience, and eventually offers wrong directions to the men in an attempt to save the fugitives, despite her father's warning. Hallie is a spunky heroine, and the story is thrilling. The well-written text smoothly blends fact and fiction. Levi and his wife are real, and their Indiana homestead can be visited today. The first-person narrative adds a personal touch and helps to bring this piece of history to life. In an author's note, Morrow describes her research and lists useful print resources and Web sites. Jenkins's mixed-media illustrations capture the emotions of the characters as well as the details of pre-Civil War life. The words are printed in soft yellow boxes, which deftly balance the collage-style, dark-hued paintings. For social-studies units, Indiana history, and stories about strong female characters, this title is a worthy addition.-Beth Tegart, Oneida City Schools, NY (c) Copyright 2010. Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.

Kirkus Review

In this thoughtful work of historical fiction, a child must decide whether to abide by the law and turn in two runaway slaves or go against it and aid them in their pursuit of freedom. Morrow's story introduces the Coffins, real-life abolitionists living in Indiana in the early 1800s. The runaways are real, too; Morrow learned their names researching 19th-century court records. What's imagined is the encounter between the child, Hallie, and the runaways whom the Coffin's harbor in their basement. In this moment, she presents young readers with a powerful dilemma. Jenkins's stirring illustrations--created with spray paint, acrylic, pastel, and colored pencil--heighten the drama. Dark blues and fiery reds reflect the violence of the slave catchers, while bright golds and yellows represent the hopefulness of the runaways and Hallie's enlightened sense of justice. An excellent choice for children studying the Underground Railroad. (Picture book. 5-9) Copyright ©Kirkus Reviews, used with permission.