Release Date: September 8, 2004
Contributors: Jerome Lagarrigue (Illustrator)
An African American family becomes a new kind of pioneer.
Leaving behind Big Mama, loving relatives, and the familiar red soil and cotton fields of Alabama, Jessie and her family are going north to Nebraska. They are pioneers searching for a better life with decent schools and jobs. But traveling through the segregated South is difficult for an African American family in the 1960s. With most public places reserved for "whites only," where will they stop to get gas and food?
Lyrical free verse and evocative paintings capture the rhythm of the road and a young girl's longing as she wonders: Will I like it there? Will I like the North?
“Gorgeous. . . . The impressionistic, color-rich paintings are as warm and expressive as the lyrical story.”
—Starred Review, Kirkus Reviews
“In subtle, cadenced poetry, Harrington brings close the stark realities blacks faced in the segregated South. Lagarrigue's paintings beautifully capture the family scenes . . . in soft-edged, thickly brushed strokes that heighten the powerful emotions in Jesse's words—the nostalgia, the worry, and the bittersweet hope about a promising new place.”
—Starred Review, Booklist
“Lagarrigue's paintings are . . . powerful and well-suited to Harrington's somber, poetic narrative voice. A solid choice for readers.”
—Starred Review, School Library Journal
“Harrington's . . . attention to detail deepens the symbolic resonance of the family's journey. Lagarrigue's deeply hued, soul-stirring landscapes escort the family . . . together, text and illustration offer an almost tangible embodiment of the regrets that accompany leaving and the anticipation of better things to come.”
―The Bulletin for the Center of Children's Books