Written by Elizabeth Van Steenwyk
Illustrated by Anna Rich
One of the many methods for passing along information about the Underground Railroad may have been the rhythms of the plantation blacksmith. This is a heartwarming look at how a young boy would have perceived the actions of his blacksmith father. It will help the reader identify with both the conductors and passengers on the railroad.
Late into the night, Pa swings his hammer, giving the passengers direction. As an excuse, Pa tells his master he’s working on a special birthday present for the mistress of the plantation. Pa is an artist with the iron, forming a beautiful gate topped by a bird. When Pa works himself ill, the boy must take the hammer and pound out the rhythms, at risk to his own well-being. Finally, his family takes a journey of their own.
The beautiful illustrations add to the feel and demonstrate the darkness, fear, and hope associated with the railroad. Pa’s creations are reproduced stunningly. Besides the iron bird, he produces a star for the boy, pointing the way to freedom.
Recommended for use with history units, musical studies of spirituals, or as independent reading. It should spark many discussions and suggest many projects.
- Title: Blacksmith’s Song
- Author: Elizabeth Van Steenwyk
- Illustrator: Anna Rich
- Published: Peachtree Publishers, 2018
- Reviewer: Sue Poduska
- Format: Hardcover, 32 pages
- Grade Level: PreK to 3
- Genre: Fiction, History
- ISBN: 978-1-56145-580-5
- Extras: Author’s Note