A Kirkus Reviews Best Picture Book of 2019
A young slave girl witnesses the heartbreak and hopefulness of her family and their plantation community when her brother escapes for freedom in this brilliantly conceived picture book by Coretta Scott King Award winner James E. Ransome.
Every single morning, the overseer of the plantation rings the bell. Daddy gathers wood. Mama cooks. Ben and the other slaves go out to work. Each day is the same. Full of grueling work and sweltering heat. Every day, except one, when the bell rings and Ben is nowhere to be found. Because Ben ran. Yet, despite their fear and sadness, his family remains hopeful that maybe, just maybe, he made it North. That he is free.
An ode to hope and a powerful tribute to the courage of those who ran for freedom, The Bell Rang is a stunning reminder that our past can never be forgotten.
James E. Ransome’s highly acclaimed illustrations for Before She Was Harriett received the 2018 Coretta Scott King Illustrator Honor. His other award-winning titles include Coretta Scott King Honor Book Uncle Jed’s Barbershop; Sweet Clara and the Freedom Quilt; and Let My People Go, winner of the NAACP Image Award. He frequently collaborates with his wife, author Lesa Cline-Ransome. Some of their titles include Game Changers: The Story of Venus Serena Williams, which received four starred reviews; My Story, My Dance: Robert Battle’s Journey to Alvin Ailey; and Words Set Me Free: The Story of Young Frederick Douglass. Mr. Ransome teaches illustration at Pratt Institute and lives in upstate New York with his family. Visit James at JamesRansome.com.
To Tom Feelings and his Middle Passage, and to a true role model, Ida Williams Thomspon.
“With spare text and gorgeous illustrations, this work represents a unique and engaging perspective on enslaved families.”
“Stories about escaping people often follow the journeys of those leaving; this one imagines what life was like for a family left behind.”