The Daring Escape of Ona Judge
Author: Written by Ray Anthony Shepard; illustrated by Keith Mallett
A powerful poem about Ona Judge's life and her self-emancipation from George Washington’s household.
Ona Judge was enslaved by the Washingtons, and served the President's wife, Martha. Ona was widely known for her excellent skills as a seamstress, and was raised alongside Washington’s grandchildren. Indeed, she was frequently mistaken for his granddaughter. This poetic biography follows her childhood and adolescence until she decides to run away.
Author Ray Anthony Shepard welcomes meaningful and necessary conversation among young readers about the horrors of slavery and the experience of house servants through call-and-response style lines. Illustrator Keith Mallett’s rich paintings include fabric collage and add further feeling and majesty to Ona’s daring escape.
With extensive backmatter, this poem may serve as a new introduction to American slavery and Ona Judge's legacy.
Farrar, Straus and Giroux (BYR)
In The News
A Jane Addams Children's Book Award Honor Book
A Bank Street Best Book of the Year
An ALSC Notable Book
A NCSS Notable Book
"With a distinctive, haunting voice, powerful images, and thought-provoking story structure, this unique look at a remarkable young woman’s life choices and decisions offers an utterly necessary but seldom highlighted perspective on the contradictions within our society’s foundations. A powerful antidote to whitewashed cultural mythology." —Kirkus Reviews, starred review
"A stunning picture book debut . . . an evocative portrait that keenly interrogates the structures upon which America is built." —Publishers Weekly, starred review
"A fine addition to all collections." —Booklist
"This is a moving complement to Dunbar’s Never Caught (BCCB 1/19) as well as a potent exemplar of scathing historical critique." —Bulletin of the Center for Children's Books (BCCB)