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Passenger on the Pearl

The True Story of Emily Edmonson's Flight from Slavery

By Winifred Conkling

NOW IN PAPERBACK!

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. Through Emily Edmonson’s journey from enslaved person to teacher at a school for African American young women, Conkling illuminates the daily lives of enslaved people, the often changing laws affecting them, and the high cost of a failed escape.

“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.” —Kirkus Reviews

“[Passenger on the Pearl] covers information about slavery that is often not found in other volumes . . . Conkling’s work is intricate and detailed . . . A strong and well-sourced resource.” —School Library Journal

“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

“Edmondson’s life story is compelling and inspiring. It provides the perfect hook for readers into the horrors of slavery.” —VOYA


A Junior Library Guild Selection

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Meet the Author
Winifred Conkling headshot

Winifred Conkling

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Review quotes
“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
Product Details
Age range
12 - 15
Grade range
7 - 10
Categories
Number of pages
176
Publication date
January 26, 2016
ISBN
9781616205508