Midnight Teacher: Lilly Ann Granderson and Her Secret School

Ages: 8 - 12Publisher: Lee & Low Books


Virginia-born Lilly Ann Granderson was sold to a slave owner in Kentucky when she was around four. She worked in the house and taught herself to read and write with an old speller the master’s children gave her, reading everything she could get her hands on. Wanting to teach others to read and write, Lilly Ann met with them secretly on Sundays when the slave-owner’s family was away. When her master died, she was sold to a plantation close to Natchez, where the punishment for slaves teaching or learning to read or write was thirty-nine lashes with a whip. Nevertheless, she persisted in teaching, meeting people secretly at midnight in a secluded cabin on the outskirts of Natchez – until they were discovered.

Illustrator London Ladd beautifully captures facial expressions and the body language of the enslaved. With a palette of browns and blues, dignity and bravery flow across double and three-quarter page spreads.

Kemie Nix ©2018 Parents’ Choice

Kemie Nix is Chairman of Children’s Literature for Children (CLC), a non-profit, tax-exempt, educational organization dedicated to bringing children and books together. Mrs. Nix, a senior book editor for Parents’ Choice, has a remarkable sense of selecting books children love to read.

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