Though our children's book about the contraband slaves of the Civil War doesn't pub till January, illustrator London Ladd and I have been nibbling nails waiting for early Under the Freedom Tree reviews. The influential Kirkus is first to chime in—and oh-so-positively, thank goodness!
You can read the full review here; the juicy, cause-for-cartwheels bits are as follows:
VanHecke’s free-verse narrative is compelling, informative and emotive, telling the story by year from 1861 to 1863. Ladd uses acrylic and pastel paints with colored pencils to present a realistic depiction of events, the danger that the men faced while escaping and the jubilation felt as they listened to the words that freed them. A valuable addition to the expanding canon of books on slaves escaping to freedom.
Thank you, thank you, dear Kirkus!
Causes Susan VanHecke Supports
Society of Children's Book Writers and Illustrators
National Trust For Historic Preservation