Hammering for Freedom
Winner of the publisher’s New Voices award, this tells the inspiring story of William Lewis, an enslaved Tennessee blacksmith who vowed to find freedom for himself and his family, despite the overwhelming barriers, managed to do just that. Handsomely illustrated with both vigor and tenderness, this is a terrific combination of words and art. Lewis is perhaps one of those hidden figures, but his determination, resolution, and smarts are all on display here. The book also does a good job of subtly portraying some of the less noticeable diminishments of slavery, such as Lewis needing a white man to escort him and make the transaction when he went to pay the Colonel. The author’s note, which features photos of the Lewis family, makes for a fascinating close.