Freedom Over Me, Eleven Slaves, their Lives and Dreams Brought to Life
By Ashley Bryan
Atheneum Books for Young Readers, 2016
Coretta Scott King Illustrator Honor Book & Newbery honor award
Freedom Over Me jumps into the lives of eleven slaves, their thoughts, feelings, dreams. The eleven selected were from Mary Fairchild’s estate listing of her property, including their names, sex, and worth.
The story opens with Mary selling off her estate and returning home to England after her husband died. Each slave is given a story, a voice to be heard. While the stories are fiction, they are composites of true stories of real slaves. Written in open verse, we learn of what they currently do, their past when they were ripped from their villages, their future, all with the same dream of freedom. At this point in the story they wait, helplessly, knowing they will be sold, and likely separated.
Loose, color-filled illustrations bring life to the people, show the love they had and the pains they survived. An insightful, heart-felt book that gives a deep look into the lives of those enslaved.