HUSH HARBOR: PRAYING IN SECRET
Written by: Freddi Williams Evans
Illustrated by: Erin Bennett Banks
Carolrhoda Books, 2008
Best Picture Book – Language Arts, 2009
The Society of School Librarians International
“Steal Away to Jesus” is one of the coded songs that enslaved Africans used to announce secret religious meetings. Those gathering typically took place at night in secluded areas known as Hush Harbors. Why did they sneak off to worship? And, why were they willing to risk their families and safety to do so? Hush Harbor: Praying in Secret provides answers and presents moving facts behind such practices.
The text and the illustrations show the joy found in the worship experience yet the fear of discovery by paterollers who comb the woods looking for runaways. The First Amendment to the Constitution, freedom of religion, is among the many discussion topics that this book presents.
“This is a beautifully written, inspiring story told through the experiences of one young boy. As in her previous award-winning book, "A Bus of Our Own," Evans illuminates a moment in African-American history. She captures not only the voices of individual characters but also the powerful connections between the people in the story that help them manage adversity with courage and pride.”
Marigny Dupuy, Times Picayune
“The illustrations by Erin Bennett Banks are haunting. This book will be a real eye opener for your child regarding one of the darkest chapters of American history. However, author Freddi Williams Evans pulls it off in an upbeat and positive way. This book gets a high five from me for keeping my interest from beginning to end.”
Gayle Jacobson-Huset, Managing Editor, Stories for Children Magazine
“Evans handles the issue with clarity, understanding and pride…”