Lucy is just a young girl when her parents are sold off the plantation where her family lives. Oh, how she wishes things could be different. One day Lucy's older brother, Albert, comes home with somet
Lucy is just a young girl when her parents are sold off the plantation where her family lives. Oh, how she wishes things could be different. One day Lucy's older brother, Albert, comes home with something that can make a difference - a sack of quilts. The quilts are part of a secret code, and each different pattern gives important information to slaves planning to escape on the Underground Railroad. When Albert is caught one night helping the runaways, he too must flee, leaving Lucy behind. As he disappears into the darkness, Lucy fears she will never see her brother again.
Set during the years before the Civil War, THE SECRET TO FREEDOM is a testament to the enduring bond of family and a celebration of the human spirit. It is a story of triumph over adversity during a difficult chapter in our country's past. An Author's Note further explains the Underground Railroad quilt code.
View Description for teachers/educators
Children's Books of the Year
Bank Street College Children's Book Committee
International Reading Association (IRA)
K-6 Social Studies
Society of School Librarians International
Grades 1 - 5
Grades 2 - 3
Art, African/African American Interest, Slavery, United States History, Poverty
View Biographical note
Marcia Vaughan is an award-winning author of numerous books for children, including Snap!, a Junior Library Guild Selection, Whistling Dixie, an ALA Notable book, and The Secret to Freedom, a Teachers' Choices Award winner published by LEE & LOW BOOKS. A full-time author, Vaughan is a popular speaker at national and regional conferences. She lives in Vashon Island, Washington, with her husband and their son.
Larry Johnson is a fine artist who has illustrated several children's books, including Knoxville, Tennessee by Nikki Giovanni, When Joe Louis Won the Title, and LEE & LOW's The Secret to Freedom, praised by SCHOOL LIBRARY JOURNAL for its "expressive acrylic paintings . . . rich in color and emotion.". He also serves as a Youth Minister at a Baptist church and is cohost of a weekend sports radio show. Johnson and his wife live in Stoughton, Massachusetts.