Eliza's Freedom Road

An Underground Railroad Diary

Eliza's Freedom Road

Illustrated by: Shadra Strickland
For Ages: 8 - 12
  • 2
It is 1852 in Alexandria, Virginia. Eliza’s mother has been sent away and it is Abbey, the cook, who looks after Eliza, when Eliza isn’t taking care of the Mistress. Eliza has the quilt her mother left her and the memory of the stories she told to keep her close. When her Mistress’s health begins to fail and Eliza overhears the Master talk of Eliza being traded, Eliza takes to the night. She follows the path and the words of the farmhand Old Joe, “ … travel the night … sleep the day. Go East. Your back to the set of the sun until you come to the safe house where the candlelight lights the window.” All the while, Eliza recites the stories her mother taught her along her Freedom Road from Maryland to St. Catherine’s, Canada.
  • Simon & Schuster/Paula Wiseman Books | 
  • 160 pages | 
  • ISBN 9781416958147 | 
  • January 2011 | 
  • Grades 3 - 7
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Through her research Jerdine Nolen creates a diary of the underground railroad and a young girl's pilgrimage.

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About the Author

Jerdine Nolen
Photo credit: Pat Cummings

Jerdine Nolen

Jerdine Nolen is the beloved author of many award-winning books, including Big Jabe, Thunder Rose (a Coretta Scott King Illlustrator Honor Book), and Hewitt Anderson’s Great Big Life (a Bank Street Best Book of the Year), all illustrated by Kadir Nelson. She is also the author of Eliza’s Freedom Road, illustrated by Shadra Strickland, which was an ALA/YALSA Best Fiction Nominee for Young Adults; Raising Dragons, illustrated by Elise Primavera, which received the Christopher Award; and Harvey Potter’s Balloon Farm, illustrated by Mark Buehner, which won the Kentucky Bluegrass Award. Her other books include Plantizilla, illustrated by David Catrow, which was a BOOKSENSE 76 Selection, and Irene’s Wish, illustrated by A.G. Ford, which Kirkus Reviews called “delightful and memorable” in a starred review. Ms. Nolen is an educator and lives in Ellicott City, Maryland.