The Bell Rang (Hardcover)

By James E. Ransome, James E. Ransome (Illustrator)

Atheneum/Caitlyn Dlouhy Books, 9781442421134, 40pp.

Publication Date: January 15, 2019

List Price: 17.99*
* Individual store prices may vary.

Description

A young slave girl witnesses the heartbreak and hopefulness of her family and their plantation community when her brother escapes for freedom in this brilliantly conceived picture book by Coretta Scott King Award winner James E. Ransome.

Every single morning, the overseer of the plantation rings the bell. Daddy gathers wood. Mama cooks. Ben and the other slaves go out to work. Each day is the same. Full of grueling work and sweltering heat. Every day, except one, when the bell rings and Ben is nowhere to be found. Because Ben ran. Yet, despite their fear and sadness, his family remains hopeful that maybe, just maybe, he made it North. That he is free.

An ode to hope and a powerful tribute to the courage of those who ran for freedom, The Bell Rang is a stunning reminder that our past can never be forgotten.


About the Author

James E. Ransome’s highly acclaimed illustrations for Before She Was Harriett received the 2018 Coretta Scott King Illustrator Honor. His other award-winning titles include Coretta Scott King Honor Book Uncle Jed’s BarbershopSweet Clara and the Freedom Quilt; and Let My People Go, winner of the NAACP Image Award. He frequently collaborates with his wife, author Lesa Cline-Ransome. Some of their titles include Game Changers: The Story of Venus Serena Williams, which received four starred reviews; My Story, My Dance: Robert Battle’s Journey to Alvin Ailey; and Words Set Me Free: The Story of Young Frederick Douglass. Mr. Ransome teaches illustration at Pratt Institute and lives in upstate New York with his family. Visit James at JamesRansome.com.

James E. Ransome’s highly acclaimed illustrations for Before She Was Harriett received the 2018 Coretta Scott King Illustrator Honor. His other award-winning titles include Coretta Scott King Honor Book Uncle Jed’s BarbershopSweet Clara and the Freedom Quilt; and Let My People Go, winner of the NAACP Image Award. He frequently collaborates with his wife, author Lesa Cline-Ransome. Some of their titles include Game Changers: The Story of Venus Serena Williams, which received four starred reviews; My Story, My Dance: Robert Battle’s Journey to Alvin Ailey; and Words Set Me Free: The Story of Young Frederick Douglass. Mr. Ransome teaches illustration at Pratt Institute and lives in upstate New York with his family. Visit James at JamesRansome.com.


Praise For The Bell Rang

A unique and engaging perspective on enslaved families. 

A powerful tale of slavery and its two terrible options: stay or run.

With a text at once simple, rhythmic, and heartbreaking, Ransome conveys for a very young audience the grinding treadmill of slave labor and the impetus to leave loved ones for a chance at freedom.
— BCCB

[A] startling force.
— Publishers Weekly, starred review

[Ransome] succeeds in communicating the myriad and complex emotions of individuals choosing to flee chattel enslavement and the aftermath of those left behind. Without sugarcoating or minimizing the complexity of human emotion, the illustrations communicate what words cannot: the tender love of family, the cruelty of enslavement, the emptiness left after the loss of a loved one, and the ever-present dilemma of self-emancipation for those who lived in bondage. 
— Horn Book, starred review