Through the Looking Glass Children's Book Reviews

The Price of Freedom: How One Town Stood Up to Slavery

The Price of Freedom: How One Town Stood Up to Slavery

Dennis Brindell Fradin, Judith Bloom Fradin
Illustrator:  Eric Velasquez 
Nonfiction Picture Book
For ages 6 to 8
Walker Children's Books, 2013   ISBN: 978-0802721679

In January, 1856, John Price, his cousin Dinah, and their friend Frank ran away from the farms where they lived and worked in Kentucky. All three were slaves and all three wanted to travel north so that they could build new lives as free people.

  Stopping at homes that were stations on the Underground Railroad, John and Frank made their way to the town of Oberlin, Ohio. Most of the people living in this town believed that the Fugitive Slave Act of 1850 was immoral and they did all they could to shelter slaves who came through the town. They were so welcoming, by the 1850’s four hundred of the town’s two thousand residents were African American, and most of these were escaped slaves. John and Frank decided that they too would stay in Oberlin

   Unfortunately for the two men, slave hunters hired by a man from Kentucky came to Oberlin and they managed to capture John. They took John to the nearby town of Wellington where they would board a train going south. What the slave hunters did not know was that the people of Oberlin did not take kindly to having one of their citizens kidnapped. What the government did not know was that the people of Oberlin would stand firm, defying the law, and defying the institution of slavery.

   In this remarkable picture book the authors tell the story of a real event from history, bringing it to life and helping readers to understand the times and the people. Young readers will see how people can display great courage when they feel that they must support a cause that is dear to them, even if it requires that they break the law.

   At the back of the book readers will find further information about the Underground Railroad.