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.
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