Saratoga Reads has announced its choice of a junior discussion book and a list of eight other titles for young readers, selected to complement the program's designated book for this year — Twelve Years a Slave by Solomon Northup — a harrowing account from the pre-Civil War era of the author's abduction into slavery and long struggle to regain freedom.
The list of "companion books," designed to appeal to a wide of range of age groups, includes picture books for beginning readers through titles for young teens. This year's list focuses on slavery in the U.S. and related issues such as the abolitionist movement, the Underground Railroad, and the legacy of Abraham Lincoln. Some of the books depict daring escapes from slavery, both fictional and nonfictional.
Click here for the full list of companion titles.
Among the selected junior books is Stolen into Slavery: The True Story of Solomon Northup, Free Black Man by Judith and Dennis Fradin, which will be the focus of a two-part discussion series for students in grades 5-7. This biography of Northup closely parallels the story told in this year's adult selection.
The discussions featuring Stolen into Slavery will take place at the Saratoga Springs Public Library on successive Thursday evenings, Jan. 31 and Feb. 7. The sessions will be led by student mentors from Skidmore College and Saratoga Springs High School, under the direction of Skidmore Professor of English Catherine Golden. Student readers interested in participating in the sessions should email firstname.lastname@example.org or sign up in school libraries in the Saratoga Springs school district.
"It's an exciting opportunity to have children and adults reading essentially the same story this year," said Tabitha Orthwein, chair of the Saratoga Reads board. "Reading this true account by Solomon Northup provides a wonderful platform for meaningful family conversation."