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Jeb and Mattie Samuel, a Conductor

Voices from the Underground Railroad
Illustrated by Larry Day

Dial/Penguin/Random House

ISBN: 9780803740921


Text Copyright 2018 by Kay Winters

Illustrations Copyright 2018 by Larry Day


Samuel's Voice

Author's Note: 
Voices from the Underground Railroad brings to life a  terrible time in our country when human beings were sold like cows or tables. Many tried to escape to survive as  human beings. In this book Mattie and Jeb are running  from a small plantation in Havre de Grace, Maryland and aiming for New Bedford, MA. where they believe their brother Ben had gone the year before. They are helped on their dangerous journey by both black and white members of the Underground Railroad. Like my other "Voices" books, the text is written in poetic prose and suitable not only as an independent read, but as a readers theater.

What Reviewers Said:

Winters chronicles their journey in a series of monologues from every player in the story, taking pains to reflect the latest scholarship on the Underground Railroad (which is further explained in the thoughtful afterword. The movement is portrayed as encompassing both white helpers and free black people. Readers will come away with a better understanding of the horror and hope that drove people to risk everything for freedom.  Publishers Weekly Oct. 23, 2017.

Jeb and Mattie, siblings living under slavery on a Maryland plantation, tell their story of escape on the Underground Railroad.  A good step-by-step portrayal of the dangers slaves were willing to risk for freedom and the complex, lifesaving organization that was the Underground Railroad. Kirkus, Posted Online: Oct. 16th, 2017.

This story follows Jeb and Mattie: siblings who are about to attempt to flee slavery in Maryland and use the network of good people... known as the Underground Railroad to make their way north. The illustrations fit the tone and the text reads/looks like a poem. The tension of why the two need to leave is there and not avoided. Historical notes, references and books for kids to read further are listed at the back. Rating: 5, Starred Review, Youth Services Book Review: Reviews by Massachusetts Librarians.   Reviewer: April Duclos, Hudson Public Library, Hudson, MA. 

Told in multiple first-person voices, this arresting picture book tells the story of Mattie and Jeb... The unique real-time point of view allows readers to experience the dangerous journey for themselves. Salt Lake Tribune, Feb., 2018.


Awards and Book Lists:

Named one of the "Best Children's Books of the Year 2019" by Bank Street College.

The 2019 Storytelling World Resource Award. Winners were selected on the basis of "story - listener appeal".



Did You Hear What I Heard?
Voices from the Underground Railroad
Pete & Gabby: The Bears Go to Town
The Bears Go to School (A Pete and Gabby Book)
Voices from the Oregon Trail
This School Year Will Be THE BEST!

Colonial Voices - Hear Them Speak
My Teacher for President
Voices of Ancient Egypt
Abe Lincoln, The Boy Who Loved Books
Whooo's That?
The Teeny Tiny Ghost
Whooo's Haunting the Teeny Tiny Ghost
The Teeny Tiny Ghost and the Monster
Did You See What I Saw?
How Will the Easter Bunny Know?
But Mom, Everybody Else Does!
Tiger Trail
Wolf Watch
Who's Coming for Christmas?



Home | About Kay | Books | Author Visits | Appearances | For Writers | Resources/Links | What's New