I love the courage displayed through the lives of Hallie, the Coffins, and the two runaway slaves. I wonder if I would have been courageous during a time of injustice. As I read the story to children, I connect it to present day happenings. Kids can be courageous during bullying situations.
A Good Night for Freedom is based upon true events. Levi Coffin helped more than 2,000 slaves escape to freedom through the Underground Railroad. Barbara Morrow shares her research in her author’s note at the beginning of the book. Two runaway slaves, Susan and Margaret, are hidden in the Coffin’s home. Hallie delivered some butter to Aunt Katy’s. When she went to the cellar, Katy saw the two girls. As she ponders her meeting, Katy runs into four slave catchers. You can feel the turmoil of decision. Leonard Jenkins uses colors to depict the mood of the story, contrasting dark and light. In the end, Katy chooses to be courageous and aides the escape of the slaves freedom.
Savorings for reading and in writing for A Good Night for Freedom:
- Voice – the Quaker accent and language is used
- Tension – “My heart slammed against my chest.”
- Illustrations – the imagery of dark night supremacy and bright light courage
- Character traits – discussion on the risks the Coffins chose, Hallie’s conscience
- Character thinking – “What was I doing? Meddlin’, Pa would say.”