To Be a Slave

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To Be a Slave
To Be a Slave front cover, 1968 first edition.jpg
First edition
Author Julius Lester
Illustrator Tom Feelings
CountryUnited States
Genre Children's literature
Publisher Dial Books for Young Readers
Publication date
Media typePrint
ISBN 0590424602
OCLC 779012750
Followed byTo Be a Slave, Long Journey Home (Dial, 1972) 

To Be A Slave is a 1968 nonfiction children's book by Julius Lester, illustrated by Tom Feelings. It explores what it was like to be a slave. The book includes many personal accounts of former slaves, accompanied by Lester's historical commentary and Feelings' powerful and muted paintings. To Be a Slave has been a touchstone in children's literature for more than 30 years. [1]


To Be a Slave has won numerous awards, including the 1968 Newbery Honor medal. [1] It was an ALA Notable Book, won the School Library Journal 's Best Book of the Year, and Smithsonian Magazine's Best Book of the Year. [2] It was given a 1970 Lewis Carroll Shelf Award.

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  1. 1 2 Wilensky, Melody. "A Western Mass. Jewel: 'I always took God very seriously,' says UMass-Amherst professor Julius Lester," Jewish Advocate (January 20, 2000).
  2. Writers of Multicultural Fiction for Young Adults : A Bio-Critical Sourcebook. Westport, CT: Greenwood Press, 1996. The African American Experience. Greenwood Publishing Group. (October 20, 2015)