The Bell Rang
The Bell Rang
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The Bell Rang

Written and illustrated by James E. Ransome
Published by Atheneum Caitlyn Dlouhy Books
Prices as of Aug 5

What's The Bell Rang About

Publisher Summary

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.

What Kind of Book is The Bell Rang

Primarily about


Book Lists That Include The Bell Rang

The Creative Behind the Book

    James E. Ransome

    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

    Book Dedication
    To Tom Feelings and his Middle Passage, and to a true role model, Ida Williams Thomspon.

Awards Given to The Bell Rang

What Has James E. Ransome Said About This Book

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Book Details

Publication Date
January 15, 2019
Text Details
The text for this book was set in Archer
Illustration Details
The illustrations for this book were rendered in acrylics.
Page Count
Words Per Page
Reading Age
4 - 8 years
Lib. of Congress (LCCN)
WorldCat Number (OCLC)
Est. Lexile® Level
Est. Fountas & Pinnell Level
ATOS® Book Level
Accelerated Reader® Points
Accelerated Reader Interest Level

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Core Score - 74%

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Depth Score - 21%

Just the barebones.

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