Biddy Mason Speaks Up


Hardcover, 7 x 9, 112 pages
Full-color illustrations and photographs throughout
Ages 10 and up. 
ISBN: 978159714403. Available on Aerio and at your local independent bookstore.

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By Arisa White and Laura Atkins; Illustrated by Laura Freeman


Building on the brilliance of Fred Korematsu Speaks Up, the newest installment in the Fighting for Justice series introduces young readers to another real-life champion for civil rights: Bridget “Biddy” Mason, an African American philanthropist, healer, and midwife who was born into slavery. When Biddy arrived in California, where slavery was technically illegal, she was kept captive by her owners and forced to work without pay. But when Biddy learned that she was going to be taken to a slave state, she launched a plan to win her freedom. She refused to be defined by her enslavement, and coauthors Arisa White and Laura Atkins devote much of their narrative to Biddy Mason’s later life as a business and civic leader in the fledgling city of Los Angeles.

Biddy Mason Speaks Up is an age-appropriate yet unflinching examination of slavery, racism, and community healing in the United States. Each chapter begins with lyrical verse and full-color illustrations that draw readers into the narrative, and is followed by visually engaging sections filled with keyword definitions, historical context, timelines, and primary sources. Throughout the book, the authors pose questions to the reader, such as “How do you see power at work in your community?”, making Biddy Mason’s story all the more relatable to the present day.

Winner of the Nautilus Book Award

ABOUT THE AUTHOR

Photo by Nye' Lyn Tho

 

Photo by Jan Thyer


Laura Freeman is a Coretta Scott King Illustrator Honoree. Her work on Hidden Figures written by Margot Lee Shetterly, was recognized with an NAACP Image Award for Outstanding Literary Work for Children, reached the New York Times Best Seller list and was listed as one of “Ten Books All Georgians Should Read”. Her art has been honored at the Society of Illustrators in NYC and in the Annuals for Communication Arts and American Illustration.

She has illustrated over thirty children’s books. In addition to illustrating books, Laura’s art can be found on a wide range of products, from dishes and textiles to greeting cards. And her editorial images are frequently seen in the NY Times and other periodicals.

She is a native New Yorker residing in Atlanta with her husband, two sons, two cats and a fish. Visit her website, lfreemanart.com.