Friday, October 11, 2019

Book Giveaway and Release of my book, ONA JUDGE Outwits the Washingtons - An Enslaved Woman Fights for Freedom

One of the most exciting days in an author’s life is Book Release Day! It’s a time for parties with your critique group, friends, museum staff, librarians, and family. Those are the ones who helped you along the way. They gave you space to write, read your first attempts, answered your research requests and encouraged you to keep writing.

Then your author copies arrive in your mailbox.

Hurrah! Its book release fun time!
(See below for details of how to enter our giveaway to win your own autographed copy!)

Capstone Editions released Ona Judge Outwits the Washingtons – An Enslaved Woman Fights For Freedom just in time for the Oklahoma Technology Association-Encyclomedia Conference. I introduced Ona to the world of teachers and librarians. Some knew Ona’s story, others did not. I never tire of sharing her with the world. She is a wonderful example of someone determined to live life on her own terms.

A new fan at EncycloMedia.
Ona was born on George Washington’s Mount Vernon plantation. Her mother was enslaved and her father was a white indentured servant from England. When Washington was elected president, Ona was one of the enslaved people who accompanied the family to New York and later to Philadelphia. She was Martha’s personal servant and attended to her needs at home and also accompanied her on visits to friends like Abigail Adams. Ona was allowed a small amount of freedom to explore Philadelphia on her own.

Why would she want to be free? She had more freedom than most Black people. She was allowed to run errands on her own, attend the circus, and was given a small amount of money to buy presents for her family on Mount Vernon. But it was not enough for Ona and she ran away. 

She was soon recognized in her new hometown of Portsmouth, Massachusetts and President Washington sent people to return her to Mount Vernon. Ona refused.  Despite several attempts, the Washingtons never succeed. Her life wasn't  easy. She was always considered a runaway. But Ona was firm. She would decide how to live her life.

Illustrator Simone Agoussoye & Author Gwendolyn Hooks at ALA
Sometimes as I write, I find myself stuck. I can’t find the perfect combination of words. They refuse to flow. During some of those moments, I wondered if I was doing justice to Ona’s story. Am I the person to write it? 

It certainly required a lot of research. I couldn’t have done it without the librarians on the other end of Ask A Librarian on the Library of Congress website. Mary V. Thompson, a Research Historian at the Fred W. Smith National Library for the Study of George Washington never seemed to tire of my constant emails.  

To relax during some of my dark moments, my sister and I took the Heartland Flyer from Oklahoma City to Fort Worth to visit my daughter. Then we hopped on the Texas Eagle to Longview, Texas to visit our niece. I love reading on the train, looking out the window, and thinking.

We took a side trip to the Tyler Museum of Art. The paper exhibit began to clear my head. Amazing creativity! 

During another of my down moments, my son called. He is a Marine pilot and had just returned from a six-month deployment. He always calls when his plane lands and he's home again. He said, “I’m  “Portsmouth, New Hampshire.” I got so excited and upbeat.  It was a sign. His phone call unleashed my writing spirit. It said – Get back to your computer. Young readers need to know this brave young lady.

I listened to my spirit and ONA JUDGE OUTWITS THE WASHINGTONS-AN ENSLAVED WOMAN FIGHTS FOR FREEDOM is now out in the world.

"The attention-grabbing text and unique illustrations will make this a welcome addition for all history collections." - School Library Journal

Posted by Gwendolyn Hooks. Please leave comments.

Carmela here to share the details of how you can win your own autographed copy of Ona Judge Outwits the Washingtons: An Enslaved Woman Fights For Freedom (Capstone Editions).

To enter our drawing, use the Rafflecopter widget below. You may enter via 1, 2, or all 3 options.

If you choose option 2, you MUST leave a comment on TODAY'S blog post or on our TeachingAuthors Facebook page. If you haven't already "liked" our Facebook page, please do so today!

In your comment, we'd love if you would share either the title of a picture book biography you'd like to recommend or the name of a person who would make a good subject for a picture book biography.

(If you prefer, you may submit your comment via email to: teachingauthors [at] gmail [dot] com.)

Note: if you submit your comments via email or Facebook, YOU MUST STILL ENTER THE DRAWING VIA THE WIDGET BELOW. The giveaway ends October 18, 2019 and is open to U.S. residents only.

P.S. If you've never entered a Rafflecopter giveaway, here's info on how to enter a Rafflecopter giveaway and the difference between signing in with Facebook vs. with an email address.

a Rafflecopter giveaway


Carmela Martino said...

Congratulations, Gwen! I'm looking forward to reading ONA JUDGE. And I SO appreciate knowing that you struggled with and overcame your self-doubt, since I'm dealing with it on my current WIP.

Carl Scott said...

Like many others I was unaware of Ona Judge's story until now. Thanks very much for sharing it with us.

Margaret Simon said...

There is bravery all over this book and with the author willing to tell her story. These stories need to be told!

Linda Mitchell said...

I love this story so much! Thank you for highlighting this book. I don't need to win it. But, I will boost the giveaway.

Marcie Flinchum Atkins said...

I'm so excited for this book! I can't wait to share it with my elementary students in my library.

Danielle H. said...

Thank you for sharing this interview. This is a new topic for me and I'm always excited to read and learn.

Esther Hershenhorn said...

Thanks for gifting young readers with Ona's story!

You also gifted writers with your honest description of - your - struggles writing this book.

You're right: the world needs to know Ona!

So glad our TeachingAuthors get to know YOU!

Linda said...

Congratulations, Gwen. I can't wait to read Ona's story! Thank you for introducing us to this brave woman!

mona said...

I didn't know of Lita Judge. I'm already enthralled by her story here. Can't wait to read your book.

Bobbi Miller said...

This is an inspirational story! Thank you for introducing us to such courage! Can't wait to see this one!

April Halprin Wayland said...

Gwen ~ I love this post. I love your enthusiasm about this incredible woman, and also learning about your author's journey ~ sometimes your literal journey ~ as you battled those demons many of us face! Thank you for sharing the hard parts.

na said...

This sounds like a wonderful addition for our biography section. Such a unique story!