Author: Donna McDine
Summary: 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
I was interested in reading a children’s book that dealt with slavery and was happy when Mrs. McDine was able to send me a copy for review.
I wasn’t sure what to expect, but I was drawn into the story within the first few paragraphs. Mrs. McDine has so vividly portrayed the characters, (both good and bad); at first I was reluctant to read this story with my 8 year old daughter. Not because of the subjects of slavery or the underground railroad, topics both my daughters have learned about in school. My reluctance was over the very real ugliness found in the Father or Pa. I struggled with wanting my youngest to know that some fathers can and do live in such a manner.
After re-reading The Golden Pathway, I decided that it was a great teaching tool with lessons in history yes, but more than that, this short story contained powerful life lessons in : bravery, kindness, making the right choices, which isn’t always easy, sometimes parents/ adults make bad choices, and that kids have power to change things too.
This finely illustrated book will have you rooting for two boys thrown together by circumstances beyond their control, until one brave boy decides to help the other. I did wish for one more chapter in which we could take at least part of the journey to freedom with Jenkins.
Since this book was written for 8-12 year olds, I found it serendipitous that I am the proud Mom of 8 and 12 year old daughters. I thought I’d ask them to do a mini review.
They both liked the book, because it had a happy ending and because the son was really brave to help the slave. They both felt the book conveyed the special lesson that you should always treat others the way you want to be treated and that owning another person is wrong.
Their favorite part of the book was when David helped Jenkins get away. And, like me, they both would have liked to see the story continue for at least a little while longer, just to make sure Jenkins got to safety.
I would gladly recommend this story to parents and kids just learning about slavery. I would recommend that parents read the story with younger kids as I did so that you can help them better understand not only slavery, but the very real ugliness that can reside in some people.
To learn more about the author, Mrs. Donna McDine visit: www.donnamcdine.com.
Illustrations used in this blog review were done for The Golden Pathway by K.C. Snider.