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A Desperate Road to Freedom: The Underground Railroad Diary of Julia May Jackson is the twenty-fourth book in Scholastic's Dear Canada series. The book was written by Karleen Bradford and is her second entry in the series. It was published in September 2009 and was followed by the short story collection, A Christmas to Remember. A French edition was released in January 2010.


"For Jan Andrews and Rachna Gilmore"

Book description[]

"Friday, January 16th, 1863
We huddled there, all holding onto each other. The bushes prickled something awful, but we none of us paid them any mind at all. We heard the dogs coming closer and closer, baying and howling just the way they were the night Uncle Bo got caught. Men were shouting, too. The noise was fierce and it was coming straight at us. I held my breath and prayed as hard as I could. I knew real well those dogs could smell us easy as could be in those bushes. All I could think of was Uncle Bo shot and hanging dead in that tree.

Le 16 janvier 1863
Nous nous sommes blottis les uns contre les autres. Les buissons étaient très piquants, mais personne n'y prêtait attention. Nous avons entendu les chiens qui se rapprochaient. Ils aboyaient de la, même façon qu'ils l'avaient fait la nuit où oncle Bo s'était fait attraper. Des hommes criaient aussi. Le bruit était épouvantable et venait droit vers nous. J'ai retenu mon souffle et prié très, très fort. Je savais bien que ces chiens pourraient nous sentir sans difficulté, même à travers les buissons. Je n'avais qu'une chose en tête : oncle Bo tué d'un coup de fusil et pendu à un arbre.



Historical Note[]


Main article: List of A Desperate Road to Freedom characters


Main article: Karleen Bradford



  • Best Books for Kids and Teens, Canadian Children's Book Centre (2010) - commended[6]
  • Red Cedar Award, BC Young Readers' Choice (2012) - short-listed[7]


"Thanks to Greg McKinnon, Toronto District School Board Archivist, for routing us to the research of Joel Weiss and Robert S. Brown, which provided helpful information on the duration and timing of the school years in Toronto and elsewhere in the 1860s."
"I would like to thank Lawrence Hill, author of The Book of Negroes, for his support and encouragement, and for his careful reading of the manuscript in its early stages. I would also like to thank Dr. Karolyn Smardz Frost, author of I've Got a Home in Glory Land, for her advice and expertise, and Barbara Hehner for her meticulous fact-checking.
Thanks, also, to Diane Kerner and to Sandy Bogart Johnston, who guided and pushed me into writing the best book I possibly could. Sandy is the heart and soul of the Dear Canada books, and she works as hard on them as do the authors.
My gratitude to Bonita Johnson de Matteis and Terri Jackson for their help in finding information about the early Black community in Owen Sound; Mary Smith and Mindy Gill-Sitoski at the Owen Sound Marine & Rail Museum; Trevor Parsons, Amelia Ferguson and Karin Foster at the Grey Roots Museum & Archives; Judy Armstrong, Beth Hall and Margaret Hodgins at the Owen Sound and North Grey Union Public Library; and John Shragge, The Road Scholar, Ontario.


See also[]

Dear Canada

Orphan at My Door | A Prairie as Wide as the Sea | With Nothing But Our Courage | Footsteps in the Snow
A Ribbon of Shining Steel | Whispers of War | Alone in an Untamed Land | Brothers Far from Home | An Ocean Apart
A Trail of Broken Dreams | Banished from Our Home | Winter of Peril | Turned Away | The Death of My Country
No Safe Harbour | A Rebel's Daughter | A Season for Miracles | If I Die Before I Wake | Not a Nickel to Spare
Prisoners in the Promised Land | Days of Toil and Tears | Where the River Takes Me | Blood Upon Our Land
A Desperate Road to Freedom | A Christmas to Remember | Exiles from the War | To Stand On My Own
Hoping for Home | That Fatal Night | Torn Apart | A Sea of Sorrows | Pieces of the Past | A Country of Our Own
All Fall Down | Flame and Ashes | A Time for Giving | These Are My Words

External links[]