Tuesday, May 28, 2013


Unspoken: A Story from the Underground Railroad by Henry Cole is a wordless book obviously about the underground railroad.  I like that the title of the book is Unspoken for many reasons.  It's wordless, but also b/c the girl and the slave never speak to one another.  Their deal is just understood.

I'd give this book 5 out of 5 stars.  The pencil drawings are absolutely beautiful, the story wasn't quite what I expected, and there are a lot of talking points or lesson topics possible with this book.  It really is a beautiful book for many reasons.  It is worth checking out.

Some may think a wordless book isn't useful, but I would say the opportunities are numerous.  Younger children can improve their language skills by telling the story themselves as they read the book.  Older children can write the words to the story as the teacher or parent "read" the story.  Using a wordless book like this with detailed pictures in a lesson is easiest with a doc camera.  Another idea is a 5th grade class that has been studying American history; the students could really get into the book and notice the details in the pictures b/c of what they have studied.  A wordless book like this can be used in so many ways; I loved using them in lessons when I was a teacher no matter what grade I was teaching.

Amazon had the following book description:

"A young girl's courage is tested in this haunting, wordless story.

When a farm girl discovers a runaway slave
hiding in the barn, she is at once
startled and frightened. 

But the stranger's fearful eyes
weigh upon her conscience,
and she must make a difficult choice.
Will she have the courage to help him?

Unspoken gifts of humanity unite the girl
and the runaway as they each face a journey: 
one following the North Star,
the other following her heart.

Henry Cole's unusual and original rendering
of the Underground Railroad
speaks directly to our deepest sense
of compassion."

The Underground Railroad was all about courage and compassion.  This book provides a different perspective on the Underground Railroad; it is definitely worth the read.  

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