Tuesday, September 15, 2015

The Underground Abductor

If you have been reading my blog and paying attention, you pretty much know that I think Nathan Hale's Hazardous Tales are some of the best historical graphic novels I have read EVER. This volume, The Underground Abductor, continues that tradition. It tells the story of Araminta Ross, better known to most of us as Harriet Tubman, a civil rights activist and conductor on the fugitive slave network called the Underground Railroad. The book spans her whole life, from her time as a young slave through her adulthood when she accomplished a great many brave and cunning deeds.
Aside from the expert storytelling and excellent artwork, which is full of affect, action, and meaning, there are two things I really admire about this book. One, it takes a very broad consideration, that of slavery, and puts a very human and personal face on it. Two, it has shown me that I pretty much knew nothing of this remarkable woman's life. It even has a couple of sizable digressions to give the tale more context, one about Frederick Douglass and the other about Nat Turner. A great book informs as well as entertains, and this is a great book, in my estimation.

In addition to creating the first four entries in this series, the prolific Nathan Hale also has drawn two other graphic novels, Rapunzel's Revenge and its sequel Calamity Jack. He has also worked on a variety of children's books, including Frankenstein: A Monstrous Parody and The Dinosaurs' Night Before Christmas. He shares a lot of fun artwork and news via his blog, and he speaks about his career in this interview.

The reviews I have read about this book have been very positive. Sarah wrote, "I learned so much about Tubman's life - I actually got chills while reading this story as I thought about what a truly exceptional woman she was." JediKermit praised how it "honors the pain and condemns the horrors of slavery, but is still appropriate for the target audience of 5th - 8th graders." Kellee called it her favorite in the series so far, "the most intense of his stories" of "one person’s resilience in the face of pure doom."

The Underground Abductor was published by Amulet Books, and they have a video preview, teaching guide, and more information available here.

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