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Midnight Teacher: Lilly Ann Granderson and Her Secret School (Lee & Low)

Born into slavery around 1821 in Petersburg, Virginia, Lilly Ann Granderson secretly learned to read and write from her master's children.  As Lilly Ann's reading and writing skills improved, she shared her knowledge with others by starting a school.  Over the years, hundreds of enslaved men and women learned to read and write under their teacher's patient guidance.

Midnight Teacher is an inspiring testament to an amazing instructor and a pioneer in education. Lilly Ann Granderson's steadfast courage in the face of adversity provides an inspiring model for all who attempt to overcome seemingly insurmountable challenges.

See support materials for Midnight Teacher from RIF here.


Ladd’s artwork shows Lilly Ann’s determination to improve lives through literacy and will also familiarize readers with the book’s historical settings. ~ Kirkus, starred review

Ladd’s rich, naturalistic acrylic-and-pencil images depict Granderson’s upbringing in Kentucky, where she learned to read and write in secret, then shared her knowledge with other children. ~ Publishers Weekly

Ladd adroitly conveys the tone of the narrative with dioramalike scenes and uses perspective to add intensity. A top choice for any library serving elementary school-aged children. ~ School Library Journal

Illustrator London Ladd beautifully captures facial expressions and the body language of the enslaved. With a palette of browns and blues, dignity and bravery flow across double and three-quarter page spreads. ~ Parent's Choice


NCSS Carter G. Woodson award

NYPL - Best Books of 2018 selection

Parent’s Choice Silver Award

Skipping Stones Honor Award

2018 Eureka! Honor Award