cover image Nettie's Trip South

Nettie's Trip South

Ann Warren Turner. Simon & Schuster Books for Young Readers, $16.95 (32pp) ISBN 978-0-02-789240-6

Turner's Dakota Dugout and Third Girl from the Left proved her ability to write of the settlers' hard lives on the Plains. This time she presents, in the form of a sparely written, evocative letter to a friend, a young girl's impressions of the South and her first encounter with slavery. Traveling with her sister and journalist brother, Nettie learns that, according to the Constitution, slaves are only 3/5 people. She looks to see what comprises the 2/5 they are missing. And she meets Tabitha, who only has that one name, ""Like a cat or a dog.'' She throws up when she sees two black children who have to be forcefully separated when they are auctioned off to different owners. Nettie is changed when she returns home. The historical distance makes this fact-based account no less heart-wrenching and realistic. Himler's black-and-white pencil drawings are somber, yet in those scenes of past sorrows, there are glimpses of hope. Ages 6-10. (March)