Friend on Freedom River
by Gloria Whelan
In 1850 the Detroit River was a major track along the Underground Railroad -- the last step to freedom. The journey across the river was dangerous, especially in winter and especially for a 12-year-old boy. When Louis's father left him in charge of the farm he offered his son this advice, "If you don't know what to do, just do what you think I would have done." Louis relies upon his father's words of wisdom when a runaway slave and her two children come looking for safe passage. In the second title in our Tales of Young Americans series Gloria Whelan -- author of National Book Award winning Homeless Bird -- beautifully creates a suspenseful coming-of-age story while illuminating a difficult time in America's past. Ms. Whelan's narrative again shows the human spirit will forever shine brightly in dark times. Freedom River - part of our Young Americans series - will quickly become a favorite for its important message and look at history from a youngster's eye. Artist Gijsbert van Frankenhuyzen - a Sleeping Bear Press favorite - treats the material as only he can. Each illustrated page demonstrates the same mastery and devotion to his craft as the young heroes he brings to life.
- Dewey: F
- Graphics: Full-color illustrations
- Hardcover (9781585362226): 48 pages, 9 (w) x 11 (h), © 2005, 12/09/2004
- PDF (9781410308337): 32 pages, 9 (w) x 11 (h), © 2011, 08/02/2011
- Hosted ebook (9781627536011): 48 pages, © 2014, 09/01/2013
- Series: Tales of Young Americans
- Suggested Interest Level: Age 6 - Age 9
- ATOS Reading Level: 3.6
- ATOS Interest Level: LG
- Accelerated Reader® Quiz: 85402
- Accelerated Reader® Points: 0.5
- JUVENILE NONFICTION / People & Places / Asia (JNF038020)
- JUVENILE FICTION / People & Places / United States / African American (JUV011010)
- Virginia Readers Choice Award Nominee Elementary Category, Runner-up, 2006
- Great Lakes Book Award Finalist, Runner-up, 2005
- Jefferson Cup Honor Award--sponsored by the Virginia Library Association, Winner, 2005
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Author: Gloria Whelan
Gloria Whelan is a poet and the award-winning author of many children’s books including Homeless Bird, for which she received the National Book Award. The Listeners is her third title in the Tales of Young Americans series. Her other picture books with Sleeping Bear Press include Yuki and the One Thousand Carriers (2008 Society of Illustrators Gold Medal winner); Yatandou (a Junior Library Guild selection); and Friend on Freedom River (a Jefferson Cup honor book). Ms. Whelan lives near Lake St. Clair in Michigan where you can often find her out walking.
Illustrator: Gijsbert van Frankenhuyzen
Gijsbert van Frankenhuyzen was born in the Netherlands in 1951. With his seven brothers and sisters, he grew up exploring nature and his sketch pads were filled with observations from those family outings. Always drawing as a young boy, his father encouraged Gijsbert to make art his career. After high school, he attended and graduated from the Royal Academy of Arts in Arnhem, Holland.
Gijsbert, or “Mr. Nick” as many children affectionately call him during his school visits, immigrated to the United States in 1976 and worked as Art Director for the Michigan Natural Resources Magazine for 17 years. In 1995, he illustrated his first children’s book, The Legend of Sleeping Bear, finally fullfilling his dream of illustrating children’s books.
Residing in Bath, Michigan, Nick and his family share their 40-acre farm with sheep, horses, dogs, cats, turkeys, rabbits, chickens, pigeons and a revolving door of orphaned and injured wild life. The family’s nature journals logged 20 years of wild life rehabilitation on the farm and it is through these journals that the popular Hazel Ridge series was created. The farm, the land and the animals make great subjects for the artist to paint.
Mr. Nick travels to schools and conferences to share his passion for drawing—encouraging kids to make their hobby their career.