The Secret to Freedom (Paperback)

The Secret to Freedom By Marcia Vaughan Crews, Larry Johnson (Illustrator) Cover Image
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Teacher's Choices, International Literacy Association (ILA)
Honor Book - Grade K-6 Social Studies, Society of School Librarians International

In the days before the Civil War, a young enslaved girl and her older brother help slaves escape to freedom using the Underground Railroad quilt code.

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.

About the Author

Marcia Vaughan Crews has written numerous books for young readers, including picture books, beginning readers, and both fiction and nonfiction series. Crews lives in Tacoma, Washington. Larry Johnson 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 a cohost of a weekend sports radio show. Johnson and his wife live in Stoughton, Massachusetts. Visit him online at
Product Details
ISBN: 9781584302513
ISBN-10: 1584302518
Publisher: Lee & Low Books
Publication Date: May 1st, 2002
Pages: 32
Language: English