Speak a Word for Freedom: Women against Slavery

From the early days of the antislavery movement, when political action by women was frowned upon, British and American women were tireless and uncompromising campaigners. Without their efforts, emancipation would have taken much longer. And the commitment of today’s women, who fight against human trafficking and child slavery, descends directly from that of the early female activists.

When The Slave Esperança Garcia Wrote A Letter

In 1770, the slave Esperança Garcia bravely penned a letter to the governor of Piauí state, in Brazil, describing how she and her children were being mistreated and requesting permission to return to the farm where the rest of her family was living. Before she wrote her letter, Esperança Garcia lived on a cotton farm run by Jesuit priests, where she learned to read and write — a rare opportunity for a woman, especially a slave. But one day, she was separated from her husband and older children and taken with her two little ones to be a cook in the home of Captain Antonio Vieira de Couto, where she and the other slaves were beaten.

The Lightning Dreamer

In free verse, evokes the voice of Gertrudis Gomez de Avellaneda, a book-loving writer, feminist, and abolitionist who courageously fought injustice in nineteenth-century Cuba. Includes historical notes, excerpts from her writings, biographical information, and source notes.

Join the discussion of The Lightning Dreamer as well as other books set in Cuba on our My Take/Your Take page.

Brave Music of a Distant Drum

Ama is a slave. She is old and dying and has an incredible story to tell. It is about violence and heartaches, but it is also a story of courage, hope, determination and ultimately, love. Since Ama is blind, she cannot write down her story for future generations. Instead, she summons the son from whom she has been long separated. at first he thinks she’s old and tiresome. But as Ama’s astonishing journey unfolds in her own words, his world changes forever, until he can never see it with the same eyes again. Nor will those who read Ama’s story.

Never Forgotten

This gorgeous picture book by Newbery Honor winner Patricia C. McKissack and two-time Caldecott Medal-winning husband-and-wife team Leo and Diane Dillon is sure to become a treasured keepsake for African American families. Set in West Africa, here is a lyrical story-in-verse about a young black boy who is kidnapped and sold into slavery, which will remind children that their slave ancestors should never be forgotten, and that family is more important than anything else.

Sugar Changed the World

When this award-winning husband-and-wife team discovered that they each had sugar in their family history, they were inspired to trace the globe-spanning story of the sweet substance and to seek out the voices of those who led bitter sugar lives. The trail ran like a bright band from religious ceremonies in India to Europe’s Middle Ages, then on to Columbus, who brought the first cane cuttings to the Americas. Sugar was the substance that drove the bloody slave trade and caused the loss of countless lives but it also planted the seeds of revolution that led to freedom in the American colonies, Haiti, and France. With songs, oral histories, maps, and over 80 archival illustrations, here is the story of how one product allows us to see the grand currents of world history in new ways. Time line, source notes, bibliography, index.