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Follow the Drinking Gourd

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Follow the Drinking Gourd by Jeanette Winter

From the bookflap: "Winter's story begins with a peg-leg sailor who aids slaves on their escape on the Underground Railroad. While working for plantation owners, Peg Leg Joe teaches the slaves a song about the drinking gourd (the Big Dipper). A couple, their son, and two others make their escape by following the song's directions. Rich paintings interpret the strong story in a clean, primitive style enhanced by bold colors. The rhythmic compositions have an energetic presence that's compelling. A fine rendering of history in picturebook format."

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✒️ Author & illustrator

Author: Jeanette Winter

Website for Jeanette Winter

Other books by Jeanette Winter

The author is also the illustrator.

📖 Topics from the book:

Visit each topic page for downloads, lessons, etc. specific to that topic.

📂 Units, Activities, and Resources for Follow the Drinking Gourd

Quilt to Freedom
Students will gain understanding of a portion of African-American history. They will explore the concepts of slavery, respect, and giving time or talent to improve the lives of others. Grades K,1,2

Follow the Drinking Gourd Classroom Guide
Created as an on-site for the Northern Stars Planetarium (Grades 1-3)

Underground Railroad--People Get Ready...There's a Train a Comin'
Students will recognize that philanthropy is a vital part of the African American History through the roles individuals played in the Underground Railroad. Grades 3,4,5

Discovering the Underground Railroad
Junior Ranger Activity Book from the National Parks Service

Teachers' Guide to Follow the Drinking Gourd

Follow the Drinking Gourd

Why are we featuring this book?

Follow the Drinking Gourd is a book featured in Five in a Row, a literature-based unit study curriculum. Many families use FIAR for all but the grammar/reading and math, and others use it in conjunction with other resources. Above is information about the author and illustrator, story summaries, and links to lesson plans and websites that are great go-alongs for Follow the Drinking Gourd. Please note that these resources are meant to complement, not replace, the Five in a Row units. The Five in a Row volumes are inexpensive and well worth the investment.

As featured on

US News & World Report, Forbes, KQED, HuffPost,, Money, Healthline Parenthood, Family Education, Parents, Scholastic