Nonfiction Picture Book Wednesday
Nonfiction Picture Book Wednesday is hosted by Kid Lit Frenzy and was started to help promote the reading of nonfiction texts. Most Wednesdays, we will be participating and will review a nonfiction text (though it may not always be a picture book).
Be sure to visit Kid Lit Frenzy and see what other nonfiction books are shared this week!
The Underground Abductor
Author and Illustrator: Nathan Hale
Published April 21st, 2015 by Amulet Books
Goodreads Summary: Araminta Ross was born a slave in Delaware in the early 19th century. Slavery meant that her family could be ripped apart at any time, and that she could be put to work in dangerous places and for abusive people. But north of the Mason-Dixon line, slavery was illegal. If she could run away and make it north without being caught or killed, she’d be free. Facing enormous danger, Araminta made it, and once free, she changed her name to Harriet Tubman. Tubman spent the rest of her life helping slaves run away like she did, every time taking her life in her hands. Nathan Hale tells her incredible true-life story with the humor and sensitivity he’s shown in every one of the Hazardous Tales—perfect for reluctant readers and classroom discussions.
My Review: I love this entire series! Nathan Hale has taken history and made it accessible (with a dash of humor!). If you don’t the concept of the series, it revolves around Nathan Hale the Revolutionary War spy who, in the first book, was eaten by a history book so now knows all that has happened in history and is sharing it with the hangman and British officer who are guarding him before he is executed. The first book is Hale’s own story and then each of the following are his telling of different times in history.
This installment of Hale’s graphic novel series may be my favorite so far. I found it to be the most intense of his stories even though it is up against stories of wars, but Harriet Tubman’s story is one of one person’s resilience in the face of pure doom. Although it is evident through any story you hear of Harriet how truly brave she was, Nathan Hale’s story immerses you into Harriet’s life and shows you how much she truly did and faced.
Teachers’ Tools for Navigation: This book is written to start discussions (in reading/language arts OR social studies)! I was lucky enough to write the teaching guide for The Underground Abductor (as well as the rest of the series!), and I have included some of my discussion questions below.
I could also see Hale’s Hazardous Tales being used in lit circles with each group reading a different one of the tales. This could lead to wonderful discussions about each time in history. Students could then present their history to the rest of the class.
- When Araminta heard the story of Moses and the pharaoh, she envisioned Moses as a slave and the pharaoh as an owner (page 15). How does Moses’s story compare to a traditional story of a slave? Harriet is later called “Moses” or “Black Moses.” How does Harriet’s story compare to Moses’s?
- How did Nat Turner’s rebellion affect slave laws (page 21)? He meant to make a positive change, but it actually turned negative. How? Why?
- On page 44, Nathan Hale personifies debt as the ghosts and men Minty had been dreaming about. Why is debt shown as a terrifying thing? How did Mr. Brodess’s debt affect Mindy and her family?
- Complete a character web with adjectives describing Harriet Tubman. What type of person was she that allowed her to overcome a debilitating injury and slavery?
Read This If You Loved: Hazardous Tales series by Nathan Hale, March by John Robert Lewis, Stolen Into Slavery by Judith Bloom Fradin, Elijah Buxton by Christopher Paul Curtis
**Thank you to Morgan at Abrams Books for providing a copy of the book!**