best jacket frederick douglas

Illustrated by London Ladd; Little Brown for Young Readers

Frederick Douglass was born into slavery. With enormous determination and courage, he escaped North and became a prominent abolitionist, orator and writer. Frederick’s Journey points the way for everyone: men, women, and children to bear out the true meaning of freedom and democracy.



100 Books for Reading and Sharing, New York Public Library
ALA Notable
Junior Library Guild
Kirkus Award List
NCSS, Notable Trade book



Brilliantly crafted words, both written and spoken, defined Frederick Douglass’ dedication to the abolition of slavery and achievement of dignity for all peoples. Skillfully weaving together her concise narration with Douglass’ own writings, Rappaport has fashioned an accessible, even riveting biography of the great 19th-century American. Readers will gain an understanding of and empathy for his resolve and drive. Ladd’s powerful and dramatic full-bleed art is richly textured and detailed. Expressive faces, tranquil Maryland scenes, and battlefields fill the pages. The front cover, as in the author’s Martin’s Big Words (2001), which garnered a Caldecott honor for illustrator Bryan Collier, is a striking full-page portrait. At the conclusion, a double-page spread depicts contemporary children gazing at the likeness of Douglass in a museum, helping to make him a real—not just historical—figure. A fittingly inspirational tribute to a most praiseworthy man. (Kirkus Reviews)

“Frederick Douglass’ piercing eyes stare directly from the cover of Frederick’s Journey as if to alert readers that the story they are about to share is intense. This true story of determination and courage despite all odds concludes appropriately with Douglass’ own words: ‘If there is no struggle, there is no progress.’ A message worth heeding.” Booklist.

“When you spy a nearly life-sized bust of a notable occupying a large, square, untitled book cover, you know that Rappaport has another fine picture-book biography on offer. While the particulars of Douglass’ story have been covered in children’s books, the seamless insertion of his own words, drawn from speeches and autobiographies, are especially poignant: “He ate sitting on his naked behind, and with an oyster-shell spoon scooped up cornmeal mush out of a trough. ‘The children were called upon to eat, like so many pigs. He that ate fastest got most.’” Author and illustrator notes comment on their research; a timeline, and lists of adult resources.”
The Bulletin of The Center for Children’s Books

“There are many longer books that detail the events of Douglass’s life, but this one, in picture-book form, manages to synthesize those details just as well as a longer work might. This is due to Rappaport’s carefully chosen primary source quotations and Ladd’s paintings, which alternate between moments of violence and times of reflection–all resulting in a portrait that is fiery yet dignified. Author’s and illustrator’s notes are appended. Reading list, timeline, websites. Bib.” Horn Book



frederick douglas spread

frederick douglass sculpture
Sculptor Gabriel Koren created this powerful sculpture of Frederick Douglass from bronze, cast stone, and wrought iron that now stands on Frederick Douglass Circle 110th Street and Eighth Avenue, New York City.
frederick douglass cedar hill home

This is Frederick Douglass’s Cedar Hill home at 1411 W Street SE, Washington, DC, 20020, just 5 miles from the White House today. You can visit, or take a virtual tour from this link.

game of checkers Visitors to Douglass’ home in Washington D. C. would enjoy a game of checker with him in his East Parlor, the fanciest and most public room in the house.

frederick douglass with grandson joseph
Frederick Douglass had a rich family life at Cedar Hill. By the 1890s, all four of his adult children lived in Washington, D.C. His grandchildren visited often. Douglass is seen here with his grandson Joseph, who was a renowned violinist.

Click here for more photographs of Douglass and his family from The National Park Service National Historic Site for the District of Columbia.

seneca falls national park statues At the Seneca Falls National Park in New York State are statues of the various women and men who believed that women deserved the vote. Here is Frederick Douglass flanked by Elizabeth Cady Stanton on his right, and an unknown woman, on his left. Lloyd Lillie created this sculpture, “The First Wave.”

If you want to learn more about Frederick Douglass and these women, click here.


the north star newspaper Frederick Douglass published a newspaper, The North Star. He also travelled and spoke extensively throughout his lifetime. From the steps of Rochester’s Corinthian Hall, he made a famous speech, “What, to the American slave, is your 4th of July?” Click here, and answer this question: How did Frederick Douglass feel about the Fourth of July?

Some of the words in Frederick’s Journey came directly from his autobiography. Follow this link and read Narrative Of The Life Of Frederick Douglass, An American Slave.

Return to African American History or Big Word Biographies