friends 2

Who knew that two icons of the fights for civil rights, Susan B. Anthony and Frederick Douglass, were dear friends? This inspiring book tells the story of how they defied social conventions to become friends, joined forces to fight for what the believed in, and weathered the storms when their opinions differed about the way things should be.

The author includes extensive back matter: an “Author’s Note,” that gives more detail on events mentioned in the book, an “Author’s Research note” that tells about how she got interested in the topic and how she researched it, an “Illustrator’s Note,” “Source Notes” showing not only where all the quotes in the book came from but also all the source of all the other factual statements, a “Selected Bibliography,” and a “Timeline.”

The author acknowledges, “This story is based on true events, but I had to use my imagination to fill in details when no facts could be found. For example, when Susan and her father went to Frederick’s house on Alexander Street, no one knows for sure who drove the buggy.” I especially appreciate the respect that notes like these show for the reader. They draw clear lines between what was invented and what comes from historical documents.

It’s an inspiring book to pick up today, when we’re remembering the man who had a dream that “one day little black boys and girls will be holding hands with little white boys and girls.”

Friends for Freedom: The Story of Susan B. Anthony & Frederick Douglass, by Suzanne Slade, illustrated by Nicole Tadgell. Charlesbridge: 2014.