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Underground Railroad Books for Upper Elementary

Annotated Bibliography
By Tammy Meyers
Armstrong, Jennifer. Steal Away. New York: Scholastic Inc, 1993.
An aging white woman brings her granddaughter to meet her friend, an African American
woman. The granddaughter is surprised to learn that her grandmother and the other woman
had run away together to escape the south during the days of the Civil War. The book goes
back and forth between 1855 and the modern day 1896 using shared narratives to tell the
Cole, Henry. Unspoken: A Story From the Underground Railroad. New York: Scholastic Press
This unique picture book is wordless. Readers will enjoy the monochromatic drawings and
piecing together the story on their own. The main character, a young girl, discovers a
runaway slave on their farm property. She must then decide whether to tell on the slave or
keep the secret.
Hopkinson, Deborah. Sweet Clara and the Freedom Quilt. New York: Alfred A. Kopf, 1997.
When Clara, a young slave seamstress, overhears others talking about escaping, she creates a
quilt to be a patchwork map of the area. In the end, she does make it to freedom in Canada
but recognizes that not all would-be runaways are so lucky.
Lassieur, Allison. The Underground Railroad: An Interactive History Adventure. Capstone Press,
Students will love this interactive book that allows them to read the book as a slave trying to
escape or as a slave catcher. Students can get a close experience with decision making that
was required in this era. Includes photos, maps, a glossary, and a list of websites to add more
to the topic.
Levine, Ellen. Henrys Freedom Box: A True Story from the Underground Railroad. Scholastic
Press, 2007.
Levines picture book tells the true story of Henry Box Brown and how he grew up as a
slave, arried and had children only to have them taken away from him. He finally decides to
put himself in a box and mail himself north in hopes of escape. Young readers will enjoy the
story, older readers will be able to discuss the issue more in depth by using this book as a
catalyst for conversation.

McDonough, Yona Zeldis. Who Was Harriet Tubman. New York: Grosset and Dunlap, 2002.
This biographical book presents an overview of the major points of Harriet Tubmans life
including her childhood. A handy timeline in the back of the book provides students with a
visual representation of her life. The book includes some illustrations that help draw the
reader in and give them a picture of Tubmans life.
Smucker, Barbara. Runaway to Freedom. New York: HarperCollins, 1979.
Smuckers chapter book features a slave child named Julilly who is separated from her
mother and sold to an owner in the Deep South. Eventually Julilly and her friend Liza decide
to attempt to escape. They sneak away and head toward Canada, stopping at stations on the
Underground Railroad as they go.
Sterling, Dorothy. Freedom Train: The Story of Harriet Tubman. New York: Scholastic
Paperback, 1987.
This is another biography of Harriet Tubman that will interest older readers. This book tells
in depth parts of Harriet Tubmans life. Chapters include Little Girl, Little Girl, Peck of
Trouble, School Days, Bound for the Promised Land, Riding on the Railroad, and
Victory among others.
Turner, Glennette Tilley. Running for Our Lives. Holiday House, 1994.
The main character is a 13-year-old boy named Luther. He and his parents and little sister are
trying to escape from slavery. The family has to separate and Luther and his sister Carrie
find freedom in Canada. They hope to find their parents and reunite. While the story is
fictional, the author does include some real historical figures such as Frederick Douglass.
Winter, Jeanette. Follow the Drinking Gourd. New York: Dragonfly Books, 1992.
A sailor comes across a group of slaves trying to escape via the Underground Railroad. He
teaches them a song to help them figure out the directions they should go. Illustrations done
in primitive style.