Book Review: Freedom Over Me: Eleven Slaves, their Lives and Dreams Brought to Life by Ashley Bryan

Through painted portraits, and the voices and thoughts he imagined for them, three-time Coretta Scott King winner, Ashely Bryan, has created a beautiful picture book relating the lives of eleven slaves. Using an authentic estate document from the Fairchild’s Appraisement, July 5, 1828, that listed each slave with a price, Bryan breathed life and humanity into what was then believed to be the owner’s “property.”

My favorite parts of the book are the pages that express the slaves’ inner thoughts. The illustrations come across as dream-like, which gives a surreal feel to their personal expression. Written in free verse—this would be a perfect read aloud for Black History month.

Check out Freedom Over Me from the Clermont College Library.


Penny McGinnis
Technical Services Manager