Cover image for Overground railroad
Title:
Overground railroad
ISBN:
9780823438730
Physical Description:
1 volume (unpaged) : color illustrations ; 27 cm

On Order

Library
Copy
Location
Parts
R.H. Stafford Library (Woodbury)1On Order
Hardwood Creek Library (Forest Lake)1On Order
Oakdale Library1On Order
Park Grove Library (Cottage Grove)1On Order
Stillwater Public Library1On Order

Summary

Summary

A window into a child's experience of the Great Migration from the award-winning creators of Before She Was Harriet and Finding Langston .

As she climbs aboard the New York bound Silver Meteor train, Ruth Ellen embarks upon a journey toward a new life up North-- one she can't begin to imagine. Stop by stop, the perceptive young narrator tells her journey in poems, leaving behind the cotton fields and distant Blue Ridge mountains.

Each leg of the trip brings new revelations as scenes out the window of folks working in fields give way to the Delaware River, the curtain that separates the colored car is removed, and glimpses of the freedom and opportunity the family hopes to find come into view. As they travel, Ruth Ellen reads from Narrative of the Life of Frederick Douglass, reflecting on how her journey mirrors her own-- until finally the train arrives at its last stop, New York's Penn Station, and the family heads out into a night filled with bright lights, glimmering stars, and new possiblity.

James Ransome's mixed-media illustrations are full of bold color and texture, bringing Ruth Ellen's journey to life, from sprawling cotton fields to cramped train cars, the wary glances of other passengers and the dark forest through which Frederick Douglass traveled towards freedom. Overground Railroad is, as Lesa notes, a story "of people who were running from and running to at the same time," and it's a story that will stay with readers long after the final pages.


A Junior Library Guild Selection


Praise for Lesa Cline-Ransome and James Ransome's Before She Was Harriet , a Coretta Scott King Honor Book and winner of the Christopher Award

* "Ransome's lavishly detailed and expansive double-page spreads situate young readers in each time and place as the text takes them further into the past."-- Kirkus Reviews , Starred Review

* "a powerful reminder of how all children carry within them the potential for greatness."-- Publishers Weekly , Starred Review


Author Notes

Lesa Cline-Ransome has written many books for children, including Before She Was Harriet , which received five starred reviews, a Coretta Scott King Honor, and a Christopher Award, and her debut middle grade novel Finding Langston , which received a Coretta Scott King Honor and five starred reviews. She lives in upstate New York with her husband and collaborator, illustrator James E. Ransome.

James E. Ransome's numerous accolades include a Coretta Scott King Medal, three Coretta Scott King Honors, and an NAACP Image Award. He lives in upstate New York with his wife and collaborator, writer Lesa Cline-Ransome.


Reviews 2

Publisher's Weekly Review

Warm portraiture and vivid writing by married collaborators Cline-Ransome and Ransome (Before She Was Harriet) mark this story of a family's journey north during the Great Migration. Ruthie narrates; she and her Mama and Daddy are leaving the fields of North Carolina for New York City aboard the Silver Meteor: "No more working someone else's land," Mama says. When the train crosses from the segregated South into the North, porters tell "everyone in the colored section/ to sit where they want." Some white passengers put their hands over empty seats, but the three find "smiles/ from new neighbors." Ransome renders the scenes realistically in bold colors, strong lines, and delicate collage-like patterns. He moves in close to capture Ruthie's serious gaze and her parents' gentle exchange. Ruthie's teacher has given her a copy of Narrative of the Life of Frederick Douglass, and Ruthie is quick to perceive the parallels: "a boy/ leaving behind what he knew/ and heading to what he don't/ just like me." The journey is seen through the eyes of richly developed characters drawn with care and sympathy. Ages 4--8. (Jan.)


Kirkus Review

One family's experience of the Great Migration.Cline-Ransome and Ransome, a husband-and-wife author-and-illustrator team, have again collaborated on an important story from African American history. Narrator Ruth Ellen, Mama, and Daddy awaken early to travel to New York without the permission or knowledge of the landowner on whose land they sharecrop. (The author's note mentions that landowners often used threats and violence to keep sharecroppers on the land and perpetually in debt.) The family boards the train with luggage, tickets, and food in a shoeboxsince black folks cannot eat in the dining car and must sit in the colored section of the train. The conductor calls out the cities as they progress North. When the conductor removes the "whites only" sign near Baltimore, African Americans can sit wherever they wantthough it takes some time before Ruth Ellen and her family find white riders who smile a welcome. Ruth Ellen reads Narrative of the Life of Frederick Douglass aloud to Mama on the train ride, a gift from her teacher that parallels her own family's journey. Ransome's watercolor-and-collage illustrations effectively capture both the historical setting and the trepidation of a family who though not enslaved, nevertheless must escape as if they were. Cotton bolls throughout the images accentuate cotton's economic dominance in the sharecropping system.A beautiful portrayal of a historic and arduous family journey northward. (Picture book. 4-8) Copyright Kirkus Reviews, used with permission.