January said he was going to make a run for it and he did. Now, he's being dragged back to the plantation by the master's paddy rollers and all of the slaves are forced to watch as the long black snake whips lash through the air and across his the skin of his back leaving red stripes that reach nearly to his bones.
Young Sadie Crosswhite can barely hold herself up watching this horror. When she finally escapes with her family to their tiny cabin, she tearfully gathers a small wooden sparrow to her cheeck. January had carved it for her and she holds it precious against her aching heart.
While the night is "still and black," Sadie is awakened by her Momma. The Crosswhite family has decided to make their own run for it. They will rely on the kindness and trust of strangers to move them into safe lands using the Underground Railroad. Will they make it? Will someone betray them? Will the paddy rollers come looking for them and drag them back to make them an example for all others? As they take off in the darkness, Sadie suddenly realizes she has left the treasured sparrow behind.
This is a story of the dark days of slavery with all of its horror. Hope rises and falls and friendships are tested in difficult times. The memory of January moves them forward. Will his death have been in vain?
Ages 9-13 96 pages 978-039925
Recommended by: Barb