This is an inspiring story with haunting art. It tells of three slaves who escape to the shelter of a Union fort during the Civil War and what follows their brave action. Van Hecke’s language is spare and evocative. She even leaves out articles to distill the language . We get unadorned image:

May moon gleams bright as Colonel’s buttons. Three slip out unseen.

She tells the whole story in just 668 well-chosen, carefully-placed words.

Under the Freedom Tree by  Susan Van Hecke, illustrated by London Ladd. Charlesbridge: 2014.