by Donna M. McDine
Illustrated by: K.C. Snider
First Published: August 2010
Publisher: Guardian Angel Publishing
Raised in a hostile environment where abuse occurs daily, David attempts to break the mold and befriends the slave, Jenkins, owned by his Pa. Fighting against extraordinary times and beliefs, David leads Jenkins to freedom with no regard for his own safety and possible consequences dealt out by his Pa. Suggested age for readers: 8-12
Darian's Review:The Golden Pathway is about a young boy, David, in a time when having slaves was commonplace. Almost every night, David hears the screams of Jenkin's coming from the barn, as his Pa in another drunken stupor beats the poor sixteen-year-old slave boy. While David knows he could catch a beating from his alcoholic father, he takes the risk and sneaks into the barn to help treat Jenkin's wounds. But just trying to heal wounds doesn't feel enough to David, he knows that being beaten every night is no way for a person to live - black or white- and sets out to help Jenkin's be free.
To say this was a touching story wouldn't do it justice. It brings back to life part of America's shameful past, and the hero's within it. You're on edge as the two boys journey toward freedom for Jenkins, hoping every second that they're not caught by David's hateful Pa. But through determination, strength they didn't know they had, and compassion, they press on to The Underground Railroad; the golden pathway to Jenkins freedom.
The author was masterful at touching upon an era that should not be forgotten, yet in a simple enough manner for kids to not only understand, but feel. Through this book they can learn what true compassion means, and that anyone can be a hero if they have the courage to stand up for what's right.
The water-color illustrations in this book are beautiful, mirroring the essence of the scenes impeccably.
Overall this was a fantastic read. It amazed me how a children's book could bring so many emotions to the surface as I read; fear, anger, shame, hope, strength, compassion. The author did a superb job handling such a dark subject on a level for both kids and adults alike - instilling the memories of our past into you, showing you what a true hero looks like, and that those traits can be found in anyone. I would recommend this to anyone with children over 8, and I would recommend that the parents read it as well. It's a beautiful, touching story sure to hold onto your heart and breath through every page.
A copy was provided by the author for review.
About the Author:
Donna McDine is an award-winning children's author, Honorable Mention in the 77th and two Honorable Mentions in the 78th Annual Writers Digest Writing Competitions. Her stories have been published in many print and online publications and her interest in American History resulted in writing and publishing The Golden Pathway. Donna has two more books under contract with Guardian Angel Publishing, The Hockey Agony and Powder Monkey. She writes, moms and is the Editor-in-Chief for Guardian Angel Kids and Publicist for the Children's Writers' Coaching Club from her home in the historical hamlet Tappan, NY. McDine is a member of the SCBWI and Musing Our Children."
You can find out more about Donna McDine on her website.