Freedom Over Me

Freedom Over Me

Eleven Slaves, Their Lives and Dreams Brought to Life

Book - 2016 | First edition.
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Newbery Honor Book
Coretta Scott King Author Honor Book
Coretta Scott King Illustrator Honor Book

Using original slave auction and plantation estate documents, Ashley Bryan offers a moving and powerful picture book that contrasts the monetary value of a slave with the priceless value of life experiences and dreams that a slave owner could never take away.

Imagine being looked up and down and being valued as less than chair. Less than an ox. Less than a dress. Maybe about the same as...a lantern.

You, an object. An object to sell.

In his gentle yet deeply powerful way, Ashley Bryan goes to the heart of how a slave is given a monetary value by the slave owner, tempering this with the one thing that CAN'T be bought or sold--dreams. Inspired by the actual will of a plantation owner that lists the worth of each and every one of his "workers", Bryan has created collages around that document, and others like it. Through fierce paintings and expansive poetry he imagines and interprets each person's life on the plantation, as well as the life their owner knew nothing about--their dreams and pride in knowing that they were worth far more than an Overseer or Madam ever would guess. Visually epic, and never before done, this stunning picture book is unlike anything you've seen.
Publisher: New York : Atheneum Books for Young Readers, [2016]
Edition: First edition.
Copyright Date: ©2016
ISBN: 9781481456906
Branch Call Number: J 811.54 Bryan
Characteristics: 1 volume (unpaged) : colour illustrations ; 29 cm


From Library Staff

Gorgeously illustrated Newbery Honor book, which tells the stories of eleven enslaved people.

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Jun 19, 2017

There's no way to get around the cruelty and unfairness of the situation of all slaves. I cried reading this but it brings to a child's level how slavery effected the lives of the slaves.

Mar 16, 2017

I loved how vividly these slaves' lives and dreams were imagined, both through illustrations and through text.

KCLS_RobinH Dec 20, 2016

Imaginative and thought-provoking fictional descriptions of the lives of actual slaves owned by a deceased plantation owner in the American South of 1828.

ArapahoeMarla Dec 13, 2016

Ashley Bryan does a brilliant job of using a real 1828 historic document, appraising a deceased slave owner's estate, as the effective thread of revealing the story of those times, using each of the 11 slave's lives, their auction price, skills, value to the plantation, interrelationships, heritage and dreams.

martha_w Sep 20, 2016

This is a lovely little book -- Bryan uses actual historical documentation of a slave auction to imagine what the lives and dreams of these people must have been like. Each slave's value at auction is listed, followed by their own voices (as imagined by Bryan) describing their lives, and what they dream of. The contrast between the slaves' auction value and the true, immeasurable worth of their lives and hopes is beautifully drawn, and I found this to be a quite powerful read, despite its brevity.

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Mar 16, 2017

stepha89 thinks this title is suitable for 8 years and over


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Sep 06, 2017

Using original slave auction and plantation estate documents, contrasts the monetary value of a slave with the priceless value of life experiences and dreams that a slave owner could never take away.


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