Frederick Douglass was born in Maryland sometime in February 1818. However, his mother was a slave, and he was also. At a very young age he learned that the ability to read would be a key to gaining his freedom. He risked punishment practicing reading and writing, but he did it anyway. And then he taught others.
Douglass became a well-known author, newspaper editor, and speaker. He wrote three autobiographies: A Narrative on the Life of Frederick Douglass, An American Slave (1845); My Bondage and My Freedom (1855); and Life and Times of Frederick Douglass (1881).
Here are three children’s books featuring his life story:
- Frederick’s Journey: The Life of Frederick Douglass by Doreen Rappaport and illustrated by London Ladd (Disney-Jump at the Sun, 2015)–A picture book biography featuring quotes from Douglass’s writings and speeches.
- Words Set Me Free: The Story of Young Frederick Douglass by Lesa Cline-Ransome and illustrated by James E. Ransome (Paula Wiseman/Simon & Schuster, 2012)–A picture book biography focusing on Douglass’s early years and his quest to learn to read and write.
- Frederick Douglass: A Noble Life by David A. Adler (Holiday House, 2010)–An in-depth middle grade/young adult biography, including not only Douglass’s childhood and escape to freedom, but also his lifelong fight against slavery and for black suffrage and equality.
What books about or by Douglass have you read?