Midnight Teacher

By Booklist

Technically it wasn’t against the law in early nineteenth-century Kentucky for Lilly Ann Granderson to know how to read and write, and she shared these skills with other enslaved people in the “hope of a better future.” When she was taken to Mississippi, her literacy was considered illegal, yet she found a place in Natchez to secretly gather with students under cover of night. After being caught, they were surprised when authorities did not forbid what they were doing, and Lilly’s teaching continued into and after the Civil War. This inspiring true story, told in a straightforward style, provides good context, explaining why owners feared the education of the enslaved, and that, despite the dangers to Lilly (known in some documentation by different names and spellings) and the hundreds of her fellow African Americans she impacted, it was worth risking punishment and sacrificing sleep. The full-page earth-toned acrylic and colored-pencil illustrations depict the full drama, danger, and determination—and are followed by an afterword, references, and quotation sources.