cover image Get on Board: The Story of the Underground Railroad

Get on Board: The Story of the Underground Railroad

James Haskins. Scholastic, $13.95 (152pp) ISBN 978-0-590-45418-6

Weaving together poignant personal stories and carefully researched historical data, Haskins has produced a stirring account of the founding and the workings of the Underground Railroad. Excerpts from the journals and letters of ``conductors'' and ``stationmasters'' who helped countless slaves escape to freedom bring authenticity and immediacy to this saga. Focusing on the historically understated contributions of African Americans, Haskins tells of the many unsung heroes who ignored legislation and risked an incalculable amount to provide food, shelter and money to fugitives whom they were not likely to see ever again. Also documented is the arduous work of such celebrated figures as former slaves Frederick Douglass and Harriet Tubman. Haskins provides many intriguing details about the operation of the Underground Railroad, noting how the ``passengers'' used the North Star to navigate their way; describing the beacons and passwords that were used to identify stations; and recounting the inventive ways in which runaway slaves were hidden or disguised on their journey North. The result is a dramatic, heart-rending chronicle that underscores both the horrors of slavery and the enormous courage of many individuals. Ages 9-12. (Jan.)