Posted Date: 12/13/2021
Children’s authors K.J. (Karen) Williams and Teresa R. Kemp brought a fascinating discussion of the Underground Railroad and the coded quilts runaway slaves used to help them escape from their captors during the 1800s to fifth graders at Jefferson Elementary School.
For Williams, it was a return home to a school where she served as media specialist. For Kemp, it was a chance to explain her personal connection to a difficult time her family and slaves faced during pre-Civil War times as they told the story of Peter in their book, “Keepers of the Secret Code.”
Williams, who has already written one book for children since she retired from Jefferson, was fascinated by Kemp’s stories and they worked together to create an historical fiction piece to explain to children how quilts and codes were used to help slaves run north of the Mason-Dixon line to freedom.
Kemp also brought several quilts that they draped over the library shelves to show students. Kemp also brought a cotton plant to let children feel the cotton slaves were expected to pick from dawn to dusk untiltheir fingers blistered.
The Amazon description calls their story “A poignant tale of an enslaved family making the difficult decision to ‘do their part’ for their kinsmen instead of running together toward their own freedom.
Fifth graders have been learning about the Underground Railroad and the authors’ visit was a chance was a tangible way to hear from Kemp, an expert in this field, to help them better understand American history.
The book is about Peter Farrow, who is almost 12, who runs away with his family to evade their cruel overseer. A copy of the book was left with media specialist Victoria Olsen.
The book is available on Amazon: https://www.amazon.com/dp/1735830682/ref=cm_sw_r_tw_dp_BFEVWWBB7SVPTMNX0H01