by Amina Luqman Dawson
This powerful and fast-paced middle-grade work of historical fiction was the 2023 Newbury Award winner, a recognition that is especially impactful considering that this is author Amina Luqman Dawson's debut work for children. It follows the perspectives of multiple characters, beginning with 12-year-old Homer, who escapes enslavement on the Southerland Plantation with his younger sister, Ada, into the treacherous swamp that borders the only home they have known. Through their courage and the good luck of meeting a mysterious Black man named Suleman, they are introduced to the community of Freewater. Formed by founders who escaped enslavement, the community has thrived within the swamp and grown to include other self-emancipated Black people, as well as children born into the community. Through the various perspectives, including children of Freewater and the daughter of Southerland's plantation owner, a story of resistance and rescue builds to its poignant and unforgettable conclusion. The author's note speaks to this well-researched history and inspires further reading. This book is recommended for ages 10 - up.
See the Jones Library Antiracism Book List for recommended titles for all ages.