PBS Books, in collaboration with the Association for the Study of African American Life and History (ASALH), is pleased to host a conversation with the 2023 Newbery Medal and Coretta Scott King Author Award winner Amina Luqman-Dawson, author of “Freewater.” This is Luqman-Dawson’s debut novel for middle-grade students in which she creates an imaginary world in the Great Dismal Swamp’s Freewater, pulling in and captivating the reader. She shares her research, provides insights into her characters, and her thought-provoking story, and takes readers on a fantastic adventure. Don’t miss this incredible conversation.
ABOUT THE BOOK: “Freewater”
Winner of the John Newbery Medal
Winner of the Coretta Scott King Author Award
An Indiebound Bestseller
Award-winning author Amina Luqman-Dawson pens a lyrical, accessible historical middle-grade novel about two enslaved children’s escape from a plantation and the many ways they find freedom.
Under the cover of night, 12-year-old Homer flees Southerland Plantation with his little sister Ada, unwillingly leaving their beloved mother behind. Much as he adores her and fears for her life, Homer knows there’s no turning back, not with the overseer on their trail. Through tangled vines, secret doorways, and over a sky bridge, the two find a secret community called Freewater, deep in the swamp. In this society created by formerly enslaved people and some freeborn children, Homer finds new friends, almost forgetting where he came from. But when he learns of a threat that could destroy Freewater, he crafts a plan to find his mother and help his new home. Deeply inspiring and loosely based on the history of maroon communities in the South, this is a striking tale of survival, adventure, friendship, and courage.
ABOUT THE AUTHOR: Amina Luqman-Dawson
Amina Luqman-Dawson is the author of the pictorial history book “Images of America: African Americans of Petersburg” (Arcadia Publishing) and “Freewater.” Her op-eds on race and popular culture have appeared in The Washington Post, The San Francisco Chronicleand more. A proud mother of a 13-year-old son, she and her family reside in Arlington, VA.