#SurvivalStories2021 Books Early Readers Genre Lifespan of a Reader Picture Books Poetry Poetry Friday Reading Themes Stories Of The Dispossessed

[Poetry Friday] Running To and Running From

"... And like the boy in the book we all running from and running to at the same time."

Myra here.

Thank you to the amazing Irene @ Live Your Poem for hosting this week.


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Overground Railroad [Amazon | Book Depository]

Written by Lesa Cline-Ransome Illustrated by James Ransome
Published by Holiday House (2020).
ISBN: 9780823438730 (ISBN10: 0823438732). Borrowed from Overdrive. Book photos taken by me.

Last week, I shared The Great Migration: Journey To The North. Today, I am happy to share another title that can serve as a perfect companion text to The Great Migration.

In the Author’s Note, Lesa Cline Ransome provided an overview of what the Overground Railroad refers to:

… the railway system that carried millions of blacks who left the South during the Great Migration. At times, this system was as much a covert operation as the Underground Railroad, as the owners of farms who operated tenant farms, also called sharecropping, used threats of violence and other tactics to prevent workers from leaving.

This aspect of migration and the clandestine efforts required to emancipate one’s self is not really as adequately portrayed in the literature as it should be. Most people tend to think of migration as a matter of choice or convenience – not realizing that for others, it is a matter of survival, and one that can cost them their lives.

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Told in verse, I appreciated the intertextuality very subtly introduced into the narrative, as the main protagonist, a young girl, was shown to read Frederick Douglass’s book as she was on the train – running from a life forcing them into submission – and running towards a place that they hope would provide them some form of deliverance.

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My Poetry Friday offering, though, is the image below that resonated deeply with me: with this hopeful, radiant, smiling face looking forward to living a dream she sees behind those bright eyes.

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As we send off our daughter to study in a university in the United States in the fall, this feeling of “running from and running to at the same time” resonates more than ever.

How about you, Poetry Friday community: what are you running from and running to?


#SurvivalStories2021 Update: 51 out of target 100

Myra is a Teacher Educator and a registered clinical psychologist based in Al Ain, United Arab Emirates. Prior to moving to the Middle East, she lived for eleven years in Singapore serving as a teacher educator. She has edited five books on rediscovering children’s literature in Asia (with a focus on the Philippines, Malaysia, India, China, Japan) as part of the proceedings for the Asian Festival of Children’s Content where she served as the Chair of the Programme Committee for the Asian Children’s Writers and Illustrators Conference from 2011 until 2019. While she is an academic by day, she is a closet poet and a book hunter at heart. When she is not reading or writing about books or planning her next reads, she is hoping desperately to smash that shuttlecock to smithereens because Badminton Is Life (still looking for badminton courts here at UAE - suggestions are most welcome).

4 comments on “[Poetry Friday] Running To and Running From

  1. Myra, thank you for sharing this book… and best wishes to your daughter! That’s a big moment… may she be bright eyed as the young woman in the art. xo

    Liked by 1 person

  2. maryleehahn

    This is definitely a perfect companion to the book you shared last week…and resonates with current events.

    Liked by 1 person

  3. haitiruth

    I’m sending a child to college in the US this summer too, so I can really empathize with you. Running from having an empty nest, but running to it, inexorably, as well. Scary new things! (This looks like such a wonderful book – thank you!) Ruth, thereisnosuchthingasagodforsakentown.blogspot.com

    Liked by 1 person

  4. I love this book! I was lucky enough to hear the author read it and talk about her creative process as she wrote the book and it was fascinating and inspiring. I love how her approach to this topic personalizes it, through the experience of the protagonist, and how the train journey itself tells you so much about the life they are leaving behind and the one they are running to. That 2-page spread where they are told they no longer have to sit in the back of the train – that they can freely choose their seats – just encapsulates everything the book is about in one scene, one interaction.

    Wishing your daughter all the best with her journey to Uni.

    Liked by 1 person

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