Overground railroad

Lesa Cline-Ransome

Book - 2020

"A girl named Ruth Anne tells the story of her family's train journey from North Carolina to New York City as part of the Great Migration"--

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jE/Cline-Ransome
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jE/Cline-Ransome
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Subjects
Genres
Picture books
Published
New York : Holiday House [2020]
Edition
First edition
Language
English
Physical Description
1 volume (unpaged) : color illustrations ; 27 cm
ISBN
9780823438730
0823438732
Main Author
Lesa Cline-Ransome (author)
Other Authors
James Ransome (illustrator)
Review by Booklist Reviews

*Starred Review* Leaving in secret, "before Daddy's boss knew, / before our lease was up," Ruth Ellen and her parents rise before dawn, bid their relatives goodbye, and board the Silver Meteor, an early morning train bound for New York. The "colored car" grows more crowded at each stop, but north of Washington, D.C., they can legally sit in any car. They move to another, ignoring certain passengers' silent hostility. Every mile carries this family toward "The Promised Land." Reading a biography of Frederick Douglass, who had traveled north long ago, Ruth Ellen reflects, "We all running from / and running to / at the same time." The free-verse text reads aloud gracefully, telling one family's story with concise, resonant phrases and sensory details, while including allusions to history, religion, and culture, which a parent or teacher could discuss further. An appended note clarifies the term overground railroad, referring to the railways that enabled Black sharecroppers to escape the coercive tenant farms in the South and move northward. Created with cut-paper collage, graphite, pastel pencil, and watercolors, the captivating illustrations include strong, evocative character portrayals, beautifully composed landscapes, and unexpected combinations of patterns and colors that work together well. A memorable introduction to the Great Migration. Preschool-Grade 3. Copyright 2020 Booklist Reviews.

Review by Booklist Reviews

*Starred Review* Leaving in secret, "before Daddy's boss knew, / before our lease was up," Ruth Ellen and her parents rise before dawn, bid their relatives goodbye, and board the Silver Meteor, an early morning train bound for New York. The "colored car" grows more crowded at each stop, but north of Washington, D.C., they can legally sit in any car. They move to another, ignoring certain passengers' silent hostility. Every mile carries this family toward "The Promised Land." Reading a biography of Frederick Douglass, who had traveled north long ago, Ruth Ellen reflects, "We all running from / and running to / at the same time." The free-verse text reads aloud gracefully, telling one family's story with concise, resonant phrases and sensory details, while including allusions to history, religion, and culture, which a parent or teacher could discuss further. An appended note clarifies the term overground railroad, referring to the railways that enabled Black sharecroppers to escape the coercive tenant farms in the South and move northward. Created with cut-paper collage, graphite, pastel pencil, and watercolors, the captivating illustrations include strong, evocative character portrayals, beautifully composed landscapes, and unexpected combinations of patterns and colors that work together well. A memorable introduction to the Great Migration. Preschool-Grade 3. Copyright 2020 Booklist Reviews.

Review by Publishers Weekly Reviews

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.) Copyright 2019 Publishers Weekly.

Review by Publisher Summary 1

"A girl named Ruth Anne tells the story of her family's train journey from North Carolina to New York City as part of the Great Migration"--

Review by Publisher Summary 2

A window into a child's experience of the Great Migration from the award-winning creators of Before She Was Harriet and Finding Langston.Climbing 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. An American Library Association Notable Children’s BookA New York Public Library Best Book of the YearA School Library Journal Best Book of the YearA Junior Library Guild SelectionA Bank Street Best Children's Book of the Year!Named a Best Picture Book by the African American Children's Book ProjectA Booklist Editor's Choice