Title: Daisy’s Search for Freedom (Searchers #1)
Author: Bertha Schwartz
Publisher: Ambassador International
Release Date: December 1, 2018
Genre: Middle Grade Historical Fiction

It’s the 1850s and Daisy, a slave girl from Alabama, is thrilled when her Mama is brought to her plantation to be the new cook. Six Oaks Plantation has been Daisy’s home for years, and the future looks bright now that she and her Mama have been reunited. The happiness doesn’t last, though, when a dangerous encounter with a notorious slave hunter endangers Daisy’s life. She has no choice but to run. Leaving behind everything she has ever known, Daisy strikes out alone on the Underground Railroad.

Daisy’s search for freedom leads her deep into the woods. Along the way she is joined by Simon, a four-year-old boy and his pet kitten. Pursued by dogs, uncertainty, and a slave tracker determined to capture them by any means necessary, Daisy starts to wonder if she will ever be safe again. Does Jesus care about runaway slaves lost in the woods?

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Daisy’s Search for Freedom by Bertha Schwartz is a wonderful book about the Underground Railroad for young readers. It is the first book in The Searchers series and is a great start.

Set in the 1850’s, young Daisy is a slave at the Six Oaks Plantation. She is the personal slave for the daughter of the owner, who is a spoiled and vindictive young woman. When Daisy meets the new cook, she is surprised and excited to see it is her mama. The family was separated years earlier and she had not seen her mama in many years. Her mama lets her know that it is dangerous to let anyone know that they are mother and daughter, so Daisy just calls her Cook, like everyone else does. When Daisy accompanies her young mistress on a family outing to town, she ends up in the crosshairs for a nasty, slave hunter. Having to hide from him, she angers her young mistress, thus putting herself in danger. Being one of a few slaves who knew how to read, a crime, Daisy becomes part of a network of people passing notes with hidden messages. Little does she know that the notes are part of the Underground Railroad. When her turn to escape comes, she hesitantly leaves and is put in charge of a young boy who will accompany her. Thus begins Daisy’s trip on the Underground Railroad.

There are some great discussion questions at the end of each chapter to extend knowledge for the reader. Readers can delve deeply into the hatred and ugliness of slavery, that is not fully included in the story. There are a lot of ups and downs in this story with danger around every corner. I love the inclusion of the small gray kitten that seems to be more coonhound than kitten. The author has made this a relatively tame story, but there is inclusion of information such as selling of families, hunger, beatings and slave hunters. While this novel was written for the middle-grades, I enjoyed reading about Daisy’s travels. I can’t imagine being a girl her age, and traveling by myself as well as being tasked with protecting a young boy. Daisy is very brave. I recommend Daisy’s Search for Freedom to young readers learning about slavery and the Underground Railroad. There is a very Christian aspect to the story as Daisy prays a lot for protection and guidance, but that was what most of the slaves did at that time so it is very appropriate. I received a copy of this book from Just Reads Publicity in exchange for an honest review. The rating, ideas and opinions shared are my own.

BOOKS IN THIS SERIES

                  

About the Author: Bertha Schwartz is a Swiss Amish transplant to the beautiful farmland of Nappanee, Indiana. She loves spending time with family and friends, including fifty-two nieces and nephews. Her hobbies include scrapbooking, sewing, and reading. Raised near the lovely Swiss city of Berne, Indiana, Swiss is her mother-language. Languages and different dialects are a special interest of hers.