Wednesday, 8 July 2009

Across The Wide River, by Stephanie Reed

This is a tale of the Underground Railroad from the viewpoint of a young white boy growing up in a family dedicated to helping their African brothers to freedom. His father is a preacher, often mocked for his public anti-slavery stance, but his opponents do not know the half of it. As Lowry becomes a man, an increasing proportion of his nights are spent in trafficking the refugees farther north from his home on the Ohio River - the very border of the abolitionist movement. He battles school bullies and greedy slave-hunters while pondering what call his career should take - not realising that the decision is already made, though not in the direction he thought. We hear only snatches of the travellers' stories as they pass through by night, quickly moved on towards their next destination. What we do see is Lowry's growing recognition of the great blessing his clandestine activities are in his life. He moves around, trying this, that and the other - but he never ceases to assist the ex-slaves who come across his path.
This is an interesting story with plenty of fascinating historical facts and tidbits from that time period. It is also very suitable for younger readers from about age 8. Lowry's faith is a matter-of-fact thing, and it gives him strength for the night rides in the name of freedom.

Check out these other member blogs this week for more info.

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