Unspoken: A Story from the Underground Railroad by Henry Cole


Unspoken: A Story from the Underground Railroad
Henry Cole
Scholastic Press, 2012
ISBN: 978-0-545-39997-5
FORMAT: Picture Book
AGES: Preschool, Elementary School
5 Stars

This is a beautiful book! It is a wordless book that is about one girl who helps a slave that has run away and is trying to escape with the help of the underground railroad. The pencil drawings are beautiful (oh wait, I said this book was beautiful already)! Okay, the details of the pencil drawings make the reader look at everything more closely. From the quilt hanging on the fence to the eye peeking out behind the corn. This book is one that even though it doesn’t have any words, will take a while to read because of the amount of detail told in each illustration. The expression on the girl’s face, the choice to help–to do something is what this story is all about. And it is well done.

Young readers who don’t really know about the underground railroad will surly have many questions in order to fully understand the story. But this is a great story for starting a conversation or two about what is right/wrong. What is past and where we can go in the future. This is a great story, and it should be shared over and over again. And, I love the dedication: “To a librarian friend, who long ago ignited the spark that lit the lantern.” If only I could inspire this kind of spark in all the children that I work with. Then I will have done something. Like I said, brilliant!

What to do after reading this book:
Talk about the underground railroad.
Play a game where you “sneak” things to each other in a secret place. (Have a secret place where you hide notes/treats/gifts to each other.)
Have a picnic, eat a meal where you aren’t sitting at the table.
Play hide and go seek.

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