cover image Frederick Douglass

Frederick Douglass

William Miller. Lee & Low Books, $14.95 (1pp) ISBN 978-1-880000-17-5

The success of this penetrating book lies in Miller's (Zora Hurston and the China-berry Tree) ability to convincingly convey the abolitionist Frederick Douglass's thoughts and feelings during his formative years as a plantation slave; and in Miller's focus on the limited--and pivotal--period of youth. The result is a searing, personal story that is easily absorbed by young readers, introduced to Douglass as a child whose mother is sold to a distant master: ""Frederick tried to understand, but when he thought of his mother, tears and more tears came into his eyes."" This lyrical account underscores Douglass's compassion and concern for his peers: as he watches an overseer whip another slave, he ""felt the blows on his back, on the back of all the slaves who stood beside him."" In an impressive picture book debut, Lucas contributes warmly textured artwork, rendered in pastels on paper treated with pumice and gesso. These illustrations reinforce the sense of Douglass's remarkable endurance, determination and humanity. Ages 4-up. (Mar.)