Freedom Over Me: Eleven Slaves Their and Dreams Brought to Life

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Many years ago Ashley Bryan "acquired a collection of slave-related documents" dating "from the 1820s to the 1860s." The documents moved him deeply and he finally chose "the Fairchilds Appraisements" to tell their story.

This document lists the property that made up the estate of Cade Fairchild.  

Listed here along with cattle and a handmill were the names of eleven slaves.

 Here are the stories and dreams of those eleven slaves told separately to reflect the two lives they led, one on the outside  as a slave on a southern plantation and the other on the inside where their dreams, memories, talents and hope carry them on.

56 pages 978-1481456906 Ages 7-10

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"Newbery Honor Book Coretta Scott King Author Honor Book Coretta Scott King Illustrator Honor Book

Using original slave auction and plantation estate documents, Ashley Bryan offers a moving and powerful picture book that contrasts the monetary value of a slave with the priceless value of life experiences and dreams that a slave owner could never take away.

Imagine being looked up and down and being valued as less than chair. Less than an ox. Less than a dress. Maybe about the same as…a lantern.

You, an object. An object to sell.

In his gentle yet deeply powerful way, Ashley Bryan goes to the heart of how a slave is given a monetary value by the slave owner, tempering this with the one thing that CAN’T be bought or sold—dreams. Inspired by the actual will of a plantation owner that lists the worth of each and every one of his “workers”, Bryan has created collages around that document, and others like it.

Through fierce paintings and expansive poetry he imagines and interprets each person’s life on the plantation, as well as the life their owner knew nothing about—their dreams and pride in knowing that they were worth far more than an Overseer or Madam ever would guess. Visually epic, and never before done, this stunning picture book is unlike anything you’ve seen."--from the publisher

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