The page-turning, heart-wrenching true story of one young woman willing to risk her safety and even her life for a chance at freedom in the largest slave escape attempt in American history.
In 1848, thirteen-year-old Emily Edmonson, five of her siblings, and seventy other enslaved people boarded the Pearl under cover of night in Washington, D.C., hoping to sail north to freedom. Within a day, the schooner was captured, and the Edmonsons were sent to New Orleans to be sold into even crueler conditions. Passenger on the Pearl is the story of this thwarted escape, of the ramifications of its attempt, and of a family for whom freedom was the ultimate goal.
Through an engaging narrative, informative sidebars, and more than fifty period photographs and illustrations, Winifred Conkling takes readers on Emily Edmonson’s journey from enslaved person to teacher at a school for African American young women. Conkling illuminates a turbulent time in American history, showing the daily lives of enslaved people, the often-changing laws affecting them, the high cost of a failed escape, and the stories of slave traders and abolitionists.
About the Author
Winifred Conkling is an award-winning author of fiction and nonfiction for young readers, including Passenger on the Pearl, Radioactive!, Votes for Women!, and the middle-grade novel Sylvia & Aki. You can find her online at winifredconkling.com.
“Edmundson’s life story is compelling and inspiring. It provides the perfect hook for readers into the horrors of slavery . . . This is a great introduction into a little-known but important historical figure and a fascinating look at the impact of a lesser-known abolishment attempt.” —VOYA
“Conkling’s work is intricate and detailed . . . This is a strong and well-sourced resource.” —School Library Journal
“Passenger is a great resource for teaching young readers about the tragedy of slavery, as experienced by a girl their own age.” —Historical Novels Review
“Clearly written, well-documented, and chock full of maps, sidebars, and reproductions of photographs and engravings, the fascinating volume covers a lot of history in a short space. Conkling uses the tools of a novelist to immerse readers in Emily's experiences. A fine and harrowing true story behind an American classic.” —Kirkus Reviews
“Conkling is a fine narrator . . . Readers familiar with the trials of Solomon Northup will find this equally involving.” —The Bulletin of the Center for Children’s Books
“[Conkling] provides an effective antidote to the oversimplified picture of slavery in America painted by some outdated textbooks.” —Booklist Online