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The Golden Pathway
By Donna McDine , Illustrated by K.C. Snider
An Academic Wings book.

Be transported through time to the Underground Railroad, where high-pitched screams echo each night. David’s cruel Pa always chooses the same victim. Despite the circumstances during slavery, David uncovers the courage to defy his Pa.

Raised in a hostile environment where abuse occurs daily, David attempts to break the mold and befriends the slave, Jenkins, owned by his Pa. Fighting against extraordinary times and beliefs, David attempts to lead Jenkins to freedom with no regard for his own safety and possible consequences dealt out by his Pa.


The Golden Pathway is a heart-gripping children’s story written by Donna M. McDine with illustrations by K.C. Snider. This story takes place during the dreadful days when people were allowed to own slaves and abuse them. A boy named David lives on a farm with his ma and pa. His pa is a mean soul and owns a slave named Jenkins who is just sixteen years old and works in the cotton fields for him. One night, David hears the terrible screams of agony coming from the barn where Jenkins is being whipped by Pa. David feels a great amount of compassion for Jenkins and knows that slavery is wrong. David is compelled to do everything in his power to help Jenkins because he knows he will soon die from the continual beatings. David will have to find incredible strength and courage to help Jenkins escape slavery and to stop the horrible beatings and torture inflicted upon him unjustly.

The Golden Pathway is written specifically for children 8-12 years old and is written perfectly to their level of understanding. It is easy to comprehend and the plot flows smoothly. The illustrations are beautifully depicted and complement the wording immensely. I found this story to be powerful, inspiring and something that will provide children with a valuable lesson about slavery and freedom as part of American History. I can see this book also providing a valuable tool for children to ask questions and bring about important conversation. I feel strongly that this book is a must read for all children ages 8 and up. --Reviewed by Rita V for Readers Favorite

Read an Excerpt

He clamped his hands over his ears, but it didn’t block the high-pitched screams from the barn. He knew they would stop. They always did. Yet the silence scared David even more, knowing Pa would seek a new victim next time.

Thud. Thud. Pa’s heavy footsteps echoed on the porch.

Clank. The buckle from Pa’s belt hit the floor.

Buzz saw. Pa’s loud snores shook the windowpane.

David grabbed his boots and with shaky hands slid them on. His small size made it easy to hoist himself out his bedroom window and shimmy down the trellis.

He did his best not to leave any footprints in Ma’s tomato garden. David made sure each night to leave the straw broom on the front porch leaning against the railing by the garden. He reached over the railing for the broom, and carefully brushed the dirt to hide his footprints, all the while backing out of the garden. Satisfied that he’d covered his tracks, David shook the dirt off the broom and placed it back on the porch.

If Pa found out what he was doing, he’d skin his hide for sure. David loved Pa, but he had to make this stop.

Fiction, MG Historical Length: 24 Pages

Release Date: August 1, 2010 ISBN: 9781616330811

Book Trailer
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About the Author

Donna McDine is an award-winning children's author, Honorable Mention in the 77th and two Honorable Mentions in the 78th Annual Writer’s Digest Writing Competitions, Literary Classics Silver Award & Seal of Approval Recipient Picture Book Early Reader, Readers Favorite 2012 International Book Awards Honorable Mention, Global eBook Awards Finalist Children’s Picture Book Fiction, and Preditors & Editors Readers Poll 2010 Top Ten Children’s Books ~ The Golden Pathway.

Donna’s recent releases of Powder Monkey and Hockey Agony will be joined by two more books to be published by Guardian Angel Publishing, A Sandy Grave, and Dee and Deb, Off They Go. She writes, moms and is a personal assistant from her home in the historical hamlet Tappan, NY. McDine is a member of the SCBWI, Children’s Literature Network, and Family Reading Partnership.

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