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While planning her escape, Harriet said, “I have the right to freedom or death. I will have one or the other, since no one is going to bring me back alive.” –Escape North! The Story of Harriet Tubman
Escape North! The Story of Harriet Tubman
Step into Reading
by Monica Kulling
The woods are dark and dangerous. Slave catchers are out with their dogs. But high above the trees, the North Star shines down. Harriet Tubman is glad to see the North Star. It points the way to freedom. Tonight Harriet is helping slaves escape on the Underground Railroad. Will they make it? Find out in this exciting true story.
Escape North! The Story of Harriet Tubman highlights the bravery of Harriet Tubman and the people who risked their lives to hide runaway slaves. The story uses kid-friendly language to show the hardships Harriet and others faced. While the story doesn’t give detailed descriptions of the abuse that enslaved people endured, young readers may find the beatings and other violence upsetting. Escape North! The Story of Harriet Tubman will introduce readers to this difficult time in history.
The story doesn’t just focus on the abuse of enslaved people; it also shows the kindness of those who helped the enslaved people on their journey north. For example, “A Quaker named Thomas Garrett owned a shoe store. He had a secret room for runaways to hide in behind a wall of shoe boxes. When the runaways were ready to leave, he gave each a pair of shoes.” Harriet Tubman’s story reinforces the theme that people must stand together and fight for what is right.
As a Step into Reading Level 3 book, Escape North! The Story of Harriet Tubman is intended for readers in second and third grade. However, the grade levels are only guides; children will progress through the steps at their own speed, developing confidence in their reading. Each page of Harriet’s story has a large colored illustration that will help readers understand the plot. The story uses oversized text and has two to seven sentences per page.
The true story of Harriet Tubman will inspire children by showing Harriet’s determination and bravery. Escape North! The Story of Harriet Tubman is a fast-paced, suspenseful chapter book that will engage young readers. If you’d like another engaging story that focuses on history, check out Pioneer Cat by William Hooks and Attack at the Arena by Marianne Hering & Paul McCusker.
- When enslaved people disappeared, the bossman “and his dogs would come after them. If they were caught, they would be beaten. . . maybe to death.”
- When Harriet was seven, she worked for Mrs. Cook winding yarn. “Sometimes the yarn broke. Then Mrs. Cook got out the whip.” Mrs. Cook would call Harriet a “stupid girl.”
- Many slaves worked in the tobacco fields. “If they didn’t work fast enough, they were beaten.”
- When Harriett was a teenager, an enslaved person ran away. “The bossman threw a weight at him to stop him. But it hit Harriet instead. Harriet wasn’t the same after that.”
- While leading people to freedom, one man decided he wanted to go back. “Harriet stood in his way. If the slave catchers caught him, they would beat the secrets of the Underground Railroad out of him. Harriet couldn’t let that happen. She pointed her gun at the man.” Afterward, the group “trudged on.”
Drugs and Alcohol
- While Harriet was trying to escape to freedom, “a group of slave hunters were approaching . . . She prayed the hunters wouldn’t see her. Somehow they never did.”
- Harriet went back to the south to free other slaves. “She was going to free her people, just like Moses in the Bible.”