Overground Railroad by Lesa Cline-Ransome, Illustrated by James Ransome [CeCe’s Book Review]

Overground RailroadOverground Railroad by Lesa Cline-Ransome
Published: January 2020
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

“All aboard the New York-bound Silver Meteor” with Ruth Ellen and her family as they journey past Blue Ridge Mountains, rivers, and fields, traveling north towards a place where hopes and dreams might possibly live. Leaving the rural south meant saying goodbye to precious loved ones but it also meant an end to working someone else’s land. It meant better jobs and a better way of living. It didn’t really matter how long the train ride would be. They had food from Grandma packed with love and care. Ellen had a book that her teacher had given her; one that she would read to her parents. While she read about the life of Frederick Douglas and his pursuit of freedom, the train zipped along towards a liberation of their own.

Until I read this book I’d never heard any reference to the Overground Railroad. The author’s note explains that “The Overground Railroad refers to the railway system that carried millions of Blacks who left the South during the Great Migration.” Overground  Railroad gives the reader a glimpse of what the experience may have been like for many.  This would be the perfect book to pair with Lesa Cline-Ransome’s historical fiction middle grade book, Finding Langston, as well as its companion novel, Leaving Lymon.

I agree with the age recommendation of 4-8 but as with many profound picture books like this one, it would be a great book for any reader that you plan to teach the Great Migration to. Please also visit Lesa Cline-Ransome’s site for educator resources.

View all my reviews


Lesa Cline-Ransome | https://www.lesaclineransome.com/

James Ransome | https://jamesransome.com/

Holiday House | https://holidayhouse.com/

Borrowed from the Buffalo & Erie County Public Library

KidLit TV Story Makers with Lesa Cline-Ransome and James Ransome

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