Through the Looking Glass Children's Book Reviews

The Brave Escape of Ellen and William Craft

The Brave Escape of Ellen and William Craft

Donald B. Lemke
Illustrator:  Phil Miller , Charles Barnett III , Todd Smith 
Nonfiction Graphic Novel  Series
For ages 8 to 10
Capstone Press, 2005   ISBN: 978-0736849739

Ellen and William Craft were slaves living in Georgia in the mid 1800’s. Ellen was a seamstress and William was a cabinet maker and both of them had to work long hours for their masters receiving little thanks for their labor. They wanted to have a family but they were afraid that if they had children, the children might be sold away from their family, something which had happened to both Ellen and William when they were younger.

Ellen and William decided that their only choice was to run away, to go north to a free state where slavery was against the law. The couple knew that such a journey would be very dangerous and they came up with a plan. Ellen, being fair of skin, would dress up as a man and pretend to be William’s master.

So, on December 21st, 1848, Ellen disguised as a white man, and William, pretending to be Ellen’s servant, set out for Pennsylvania.

This gripping account of the escape of Ellen and William Craft beautifully shows readers how desperate southern black slaves became and how much they had to endure to have the freedoms that many of us take for granted today. A section at the back of the book provides readers with further information about the Crafts.