February 1st is National Freedom Day. A day to celebrate the 13th amendment and freedom from slavery across America. For your kids, this may not be a day of very much significance, but it’s a perfect opportunity to educate them on this important piece of American history.
To help you out, here are the top 7 children’s books we found about freedom.
1. Sweet Clara and the Freedom Quilt by Deborah Hopkinson
An inspiring story about a young girl with hope, dreams, and a talent for sewing. Clara is driven by her desire to be reunited with her mother, who lives on another plantation, and lets her creativity create a freedom map that her master would never suspect. This story is beautifully inspiring and a great way for young kids to learn about the Underground Railroad.
2. If You Lived When There Was Slavery in America by Anne Kamma
It’s hard to imagine and even harder to explain to your kids. This book answers many questions that kids might have about slavery. Where did they come from? What did they do? Where did they live? Did they go to school? This book highlights important aspects of this time in American history that the textbook tends to leave out.
3. Freedom Train: The Story of Harriet Tubman by Dorothy Sterling
This chapter book highlights the life and true story of the brave woman who crossed the Mason-Dixon Line 19 times to lead slaves to freedom. Though it may be a little longer than your kids’ usual read, this book is enriched with tons of history.
4. Henry's Freedom Box: A True Story from the Underground Railroad by Ellen Levine
The true story of a little boy who grows up a slave and dreams of freedom, until one day he takes matters into his own hands. Introduce your kids to the boy without a birthday and watch as their eyes open to history.
5. Moses: When Harriet Tubman Led Her People to Freedom by Carole Boston Weatherford
A kid-friendly book about the woman who earned the name Moses by leading people to freedom. A powerful message with wonderful illustrations that make it easier for your little ones to follow along.
6. Follow the Drinking Gourd by Jeanette Winter
After learning a song about the drinking gourd (the Big Dipper), some slaves make their escape to freedom by following the song’s directions. This book has bright illustrations and a story that will keep your kids interested. The picture book format makes it an easy read to educate your kiddos on an important topic.
7. Under the Quilt of Night by Deborah Hopkinson
The sequel to Sweet Clara and the Freedom Quilt, this book tells the story of a runaway slave girl who finds her way to freedom with the help of a quilt hanging outside a house. With the help of her family and other people she meets along the way, this brave young girl leads her family to freedom on the Underground Railroad.
These books by no means should be designated for one day or month out of the year. But days like National Freedom Day are great ways to start the conversation about slavery and freedom. For more books like these, check out our Top 5 Children’s Books for MLK Day.