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""Freedom is coming," said Aunt Queen. "It might seem slow, but freedom is coming for everyone. In the end, freedom will be the winner."
Aunt Queen[2]

Message in the Sky: Corey's Diary, Book Three is historical fiction book written by Sharon Dennis Wyeth. It is the third and final book about Corey Birdsong in Scholastic's My America. The book was published in May 2003. It was preceded by Flying Free.

Corey's family has found a real home in Canada, however, they are still missing one friend, who stayed behind in Kentucky.

Dedication

"For my cousin Cory"

Book description

"In Book One, Corey and his family flee slavery and the South. In Book Two, they celebrate their freedom, beginning new lives in Canada. Now, Corey has started school, and his family has built their own farm. But when Corey hatches a plan to help an old friend escape to Canada, he himself becomes a conductor on the Underground Railroad!"

Plot

Corey Birdsong and his family are former slaves, who settled in Amherstburg, Canada. His friend Mingo has recently joined the family, after escaping a Kentucky plantation. Corey has grown comfortable with his new life, which consists of going to school, helping out at the farm, and writing in his journal. He and Mingo find themselves talking about their old lives, including Mingo's surrogate mother Aunt Queen. She is still a slave living in Kentucky.

A man named, Mr. Jenkins comes to Amherstburg with his sons. He has been separated from his wife and daughter, and plans to buy their freedom someday. Their church sets up a fund to help Mr. Jenkins. After hearing about this, Mingo talks to the Birdsongs about buying Aunt Queen's freedom. They decide to start saving and write a letter to Master Hart to ask about the price. Corey is nervous about the mailing the letter, though Mingo tells him "we are safe, as long as we are in Canada." Master Hart agrees to sell Aunt Queen for one hundred dollars.

Corey gets a job on the Pearl, though his mother insists he only works when the ship is in the harbor. Meanwhile, he begins racing his pigeons, Just and Jim, taking them further and further. His boss asks Corey come along on trips across the river. Corey goes without asking his mother. On one of these trips, he decides to take his pigeons to race them. Corey finds himself stuck in the States, when the Pearl accidentally leaves without him.

In Ohio, Corey hides in a cave with a girl named Gladys and her mother, who turn out to be Mr. Jenkins' daughter and wife. He writes a letter to his father via his pigeon. A few days later, Corey returns to Canada with Gladys and her mother, after his father finds them. Mr. Jenkins later gives the Birdsongs his freedom fund to buy Aunt Queen. Reverend Binga then went to Kentucky to retrieve her. In November 1859, Aunt Queen is successfully brought to freedom in Canada. As Corey ends his diary, he wonders whether freedom will reach the States in 1860.

Characters

Main article: List of characters in Corey's Diaries
  • Corey Birdsong, a ten-year-old living in Canada, after escaping slavery in the United States. He becomes a conductor on the Underground Railroad by helping Gladys Jenkins and her mother reach Canada.
  • Angel and Roland Birdsong are Corey's parents, who work as a seamstress and blacksmith. They save money to buy the freedom of their old friend, Aunt Queen.
  • Mingo Birdsong, Corey's fourteen-year-old best friend. Aunt Queen is like a mother to Mingo and he starts working hard to bring her to Canada.

Author

Main article: Sharon Dennis Wyeth

Sharon Dennis Wyeth (born in Washington, D.C.) is a children's and young adult author. Frequent themes in her work are literacy, racial harmony, identity, and poverty.[3] She wrote three books about Corey in the My America series. Message in the Sky was her final book for My America.

Wyeth wrote "writing Corey's diaries has given me such joy. I loved imagining the details of his family's everyday life. I'm sure that once upon a time a real boy like Corey existed—someone brave and observant and fond of nature..."

Acknowledgments

"The author wishes to thank the following generous scholars for sharing their knowledge with her: Elise Harding-Davis, curator of the North American Black Historical Museum in Amherstburg, Ontario; Nneka Allen, research assistant; Carl Westmoreland of the National Undergroud Railroad Freedom Center; and Jennifer Lushear, curator of education at the New Orleans Pharmacy Museum. The Freedom-Seekers: Blacks in Early Canada, by Daniel G. Hill, published in 1992 by Stoddart Publishing Company, Toronto, was also an invaluable resource. A special thanks to my editor, Amy Griffin, whose exquisite sensibility I greatly admire."

References

See also


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