Literature for Lesson 1

Vocabulary for Lesson 1


Find 6 words or groups of words that mean the same as compromise.

strike balance disagree make concession dispute go fifty-fifty quarrel
struggle trade off meet halfway controversy fight agree


Find 6 words or groups of words that mean the same as fugitive.

running away stay behind fleeing wait rest taking flight
freedom escaping on the run stick around avoiding capture home



Finding children's literature from the Southern's point of view is difficult. Both books below speak of the "evils" of slavery. You may wish to point out to your students that the majority of Southerns masters were kind to their slaves.


A Study of Pre Civil War Slavery

Nettie's Trip South
by Ann Turner, Ronald Himler (Illustrator)  
AR Reading Level 3.0 Point Value 0.5

A ten-year-old northern girl encounters the ugly realities of slavery when she visits Richmond, Virginia, and sees a slave auction.


Sweet Clara and the Freedom Quilt
by Deborah Hopkinson, James Ransome (Illustrator)
AR Reading Level 3.8  Point Value 0.5

Students make a freedom quilt after reading Sweet Clara and the Freedom Quilt.

A slave named Clara pieces together scraps of cloth with scraps of information gathered from the other slaves she makes a map so secret that even the masters won't suspect.

Activities with this book:

Sally Morris Social Studies Lesson Plan, Thematic Unit, Activity, Worksheet, or Civics, American History, or Government Teaching Idea 

Now Let Me Fly: The Story of a Slave Family
by Dolores Johnson, Delores Johnson (Illustrator)

AR Reading Level 5.0  Point Value 0.5

Now Let Me Fly: The Story of a Slave Family tells the story of an African girl who is kidnapped and sold into slavery.

From Slave Ship to Freedom Road
by Julius Lester, Rod Brown (Illustrator)
AR Reading Level 4.8  Point Value 0.5

Freedom River
Doreen Rappaport, Bryan Collier (Illustrator)
AR Reading Level 3.3  Point Value 0.5

This story is based on the true story of  John Parker, a courageous and determined slave who bought his own freedom and then risked his life to help other enslaved Africans escape.

Christmas in the Big House, Christmas in the Quarters
by Patricia and Frederick McKissack, John Thompson (Illustrator)

Set in 1859, this book describes the customs in the planation house and in the slave quarters during the Christmas season.

The Ballad of Belle Dorcas
by William H. Hooks, Brian Pinkney (Illustrator), J. Brian Pinkney (Illustrator)
AR Reading Level 4.1  Point Value 0.5

The Ballad of Belle Dorcas tells how the beautiful Belle Dorcas finds an enchantress to make a spell that will keep her husband from being sold and sent away.

The Wagon
by Tony Johnston, James E. Ransome (Illustrator)
AR Reading Level 2.7  Point Value 0.5

A 12-year-old boy's account of his harsh life as a slave on a plantation before and during the Civil War. He dreams that the wagon his father built is a chariot, he dreams of Abraham Lincoln and he dreams of freedom.


Scholastic Encyclopedia of the Civil War
by Catherine Clinton
Chapter 1 "Before the War"

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