What I Offer
All too often, children view history as a dead topic, but it doesn’t have to be. When we give history a heartbeat, it springs to life. In my novel for middle grade kids, I serve up edge-of-your-seat entertainment with a healthy plateful of knowledge. I transport readers to 1850 where they feel the adrenaline-pumping courage displayed by a twelve-year-old fleeing slavery. Through the story of a boy with no future who defies the odds to become free, I inspire others to see that we all have a destiny worth fighting for. My expert knowledge about this era brings authenticity, educating people about this grim period of American history. Dark Enough to See the Stars boasts a 3.8 reading level, making a mature topic available to average readers.
I also offer an interactive school presentation about slavery and the Underground Railroad. Take your kids on a field trip without leaving the classroom!
Mrs. Golden, my twelfth grade world history teacher, could weave a story about Henry VIII that held us spellbound. I barely studied for her class because I remembered every detail. Based on that experience, I majored in history at college, planning to teach high school. However, my history professor rattled facts like a computer. Anyone in the back slept through his class. I promptly switched my major to elementary education. After my college sweetheart graduated and we married, I enjoyed being a stay-at-home mom as we raised our five children. When my youngest was in middle school, I sensed a call to write and began penning a novel for kids. Fifteen years and multiple writers’ conferences and critique groups later, I published my historical novel about the Underground Railroad.
As I did research for this novel, my eyes were opened to the horrors of slavery. No history book had imparted the gut-wrenching pain that I felt when I read slave autobiographies. Dates, statistics, and factual accounts can help us grasp what went on, but they cannot begin to convey the trauma suffered by slaves. They cannot arouse empathy for the black experience. It became clear that my novel could not only educate and entertain, but also evoke compassion and understanding. Each paragraph could be a ripple in the lake of racial reconciliation. Like Mrs. Golden, I could weave an unforgettable story. By sharing the disturbing realities of slavery through the eyes of my character Moses, my readers could understand what it was like to be a slave. When we and our children understand that, we take a step toward racial reconciliation.
Click on my blog to read my findings on the Underground Railroadand racial reconciliation. I also share book reviews and points to ponder about reading and family life.