Friday, November 26, 2010
Book: The Golden Pathway
Author: Donna M. McDine
Illustrator: K. C. Snider
Publisher: Guardian Angel Publishing Inc., 2010
ISBN-13: 978-1-61633-081-1 (hardcover)
ISBN-10: 1616330813 (hardcover)
ISBN-13: 978-1-61633-088-0 (softcover)
ISBN-10: 1616330880 (softcover)
ISBN-13: 978-1-61633-082-8 (eBook)
ISBN-10: 1616330821 (eBook)
Related websites: http://www.donnamcdine.com/ (author), http://www.kcsniderart.com/ (illustrator), http://www.guardianangelpublishing.com/ (publisher)
Language level: 1 (nothing objectionable)
Reading level: Ages 8-12
Rating: 5 stars (EXCELLENT)
Reviewed by Wayne S. Walker
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McDine, Donna M. The Golden Pathway (published in 2010 by Guardian Angel Publishing Inc., 12430 Tesson Ferry Rd. #186, St. Louis, MO 63128). David is a young boy who lives with his family on a cotton farm somewhere in a slave-holding state sometime before the Civil War. As the book opens, David is in his bedroom, clamping his hands over his ears in an attempt to block out the high-pitched screams from the barn. Then, after his Pa comes into the house and falls asleep, David sneaks out the window, goes to the barn, and washes the wounds on the back of the sixteen-year-old slave Jenkins whom Pa, who unfortunately likes to drink whiskey a lot, has beaten.
Jenkins wonders why David helps him and wants him to escape since he’s the property of David’s Pa, and David replies that it isn’t right what his Pa does. Jenkins points out that if David is caught helping him he’d be in trouble, but David responds, “It’s better than watchin’ you die a slow death.” The next day David wants to go to town with his Pa, but Pa won’t let him. However, the following day, David’s Ma sends him to town with Pa to buy a sack of flour. While there, he gets a secret message from the storekeeper, Mr. Stump, who is a “Quaker.” What is the message? And will it enable David to help Jenkins?
This story by author Donna M. McDine, with full-page, full-color illustrations by K. C. Snider, is an attention-grabbing way to introduce students to the fact that slavery once existed in this country and also illustrate how the “Underground Railroad” helped slaves to escape north so that they might gain their freedom. David is a sympathetic character who suffers his own abuse, verbal and emotional rather than physical, from his Pa who thinks he’s a sissy, but nevertheless exhibits caring concern for the well-being of Jenkins and also great courage in seeking a way to help him escape. I thought that it was especially noteworthy that as Jenkins got ready to leave, he pulled his old Bible from beneath the hay and put it into his sack. It is a great book.