Title: Midnight Teacher- Lilly Ann Granderson and Her Secret School
Author: Janet Halfmann
Illustrations: London Ladd
Publisher: Lee & Low Books
Do you have a fear of learning? What if you could only learn to read and write at midnight because it could cost you your life if you didn’t? Lilly Ann Granderson knew this fear, but she taught other slaves how to read and write anyway. Lilly’s story began when she was sold to a family in Kentucky. She was a slave that worked in the house of her master. In Kentucky it wasn’t illegal for slaves to get an education, but it was discouraged. It was her masters children that taught her to read and write, but they hid that from others. Lilly got better at reading and writing and shared what she knew with other slaves. More and more slaves came to her, but it wasn’t long before the word got out to the whites in her community. Lilly was auctioned after her master in Kentucky died and his property was divided and auctioned off. She ended up toiling the cotton fields in Mississippi. If Lilly was caught teaching she would be whipped and her students too. Because of this Lilly taught at midnight when everyone else was sleep except for her and her students. Seven years later Lilly was caught again. Do you think she was sold her given the right to teach?
Author Janet Halfmann is known for sharing stories that are diverse and educational. This story is true and very inspirational. Parents and teachers can open up dialogue and share with kids the trials and tribulations of education in the south and discuss the difficulties of slavery. This is also a great way for parents and teachers to discuss the importance of literacy and its benefits.
Courtesy of Lee & Low Books