A Desperate Road to Freedom: the Underground Railroad Diary of Julia May Jackson (Red Cedar Club Book)

A Desperate Road to Freedom: the Underground Railroad Diary of Julia May Jackson by Karleen Bradford

Julia May Jackson was born a slave in Virginia just before the American Civil War.  She is servant and companion to the masters daughter and unbeknownst to anyone, has learned to read and write. Her three older siblings have been sold, and there are rumors that her older brother, Thomas, will soon be next.  Late one dark night her parents wake her, tell her to grab her things and keep quiet.  It is the beginning of the family’s journey along the Underground Railroad to freedom in Canada.  Julia May keeps a journal of their experiences – a journal that could cause serious repercussions should it fall into the wrong hands.

This book had a strong beginning that grabbed my attention and pulled me into the story.  Julia May is a spunky spirited girl who I liked a lot.  I desperately wanted her family’s journey to be successful. They make it to Toronto, but while free, are still in danger of being kidnapped by slave hunters.  Eventually they move to Owen Sound where they put down roots. 

I really liked how this book portrayed history in an exciting format.  I knew something about the underground railway of course, but this book helps us to understand more about what it was like once these people made it to Canada.  They may have been ‘free,’ but they still faced considerable prejudice once they arrived. 

This is a great addition to the Dear Canada series!


  1. Hi,
    I have recently read tis book and I loved it! but I have to do a book report on it and I cant find anywhere what Julia Mays best friends name, I would look it up in the book but I had already returned it, please help
    thanks :)

    1. Her best friends name is Amelia

  2. sorry - I don't have the book at hand either - Will Thursday be to late for you?

  3. can we find pdfs of these books online