In accordance with Black History Month, presenting a previous winner of the Coretta Scott King award seemed appropriate. The Coretta Scott King award is awarded to a particular children’s book that features an African American author and illustrator that creatively and accurately depict aspects of African American culture. In 2012, the illustrator award was given to Shane W. Evans for the incredible artistry presented in Underground: Finding the Light to Freedom.
Slavery is a very important part of African American history and this story presents one of the most empowering tales that stemmed from this era, a slave’s brave and dangerous quest for freedom. Upon viewing this book, you will not have to wonder long about why the illustrations were so loved. And because the story is told through short sentences, the reader is left to deduce the majority of the story through the pictures.
The pictures are sketch-like with background elements that are visible, but not detailed. This actually enhances the story because it allows us as readers to focus on what Evans focuses on in her drawings-the emotional expressions on the characters’ faces.
And though this is a children’s books, the author and illustrator do not attempt to mask neither the real danger that these runaway slaves faced nor the enormous amount of fear that these runaway slaves felt as they made their escape.
Reading this book will take readers through a slave’s journey to freedom and allow them to experience an essential component of African American history.