Perfect Picture Book Friday: FOLLOW ME DOWN TO NICODEMUS TOWN Plus Giveaway

Hurray! The first Perfect Picture Book Friday post of 2019! This year is shaping up to be a wild rollercoaster of adventure for me. So it made sense to review a book about a group of pioneers who also experienced a challenging journey. Oh, by the way, did I mention these pioneers were African Americans? The book is fiction, but based on true events – the story of the town of Nicodemus, Kansas, where, in 1877, former slaves could purchase a large tract of prairie land for $5…all they had to do was chop down trees to build their homes, hunt animals to provide food for their families, plow the hardscrabble ground to plant crops, and survive the harsh winters, frozen rivers, and lack of supportive neighboring towns.

Follow Me Cover


Written by Alexandria LaFaye

Illustrated by Nicole Tadgell

Published by Albert Whitman and Company (January 1, 2019)

Ages: 5-9



From Amazon: When Dede sees a notice offering land to black people in Kansas, her family decides to give up their life of sharecropping to become homesteading pioneers in the Midwest. Inspired by the true story of Nicodemus, Kansas, a town founded in the late 1870s by Exodusters—former slaves leaving the Jim Crow South in search of a new beginning—this fictional story follows Dede and her parents as they set out to stake and secure a claim, finally allowing them to have a home to call their own.

Why I love this book:

  • The topic! How many of you knew that there were African American pioneers? I definitely didn’t…that info wasn’t in any of the history books I ever studied…and not in any of the TV shows or movies from years ago that depicted the settling of the American West. This book is a treasure chest of golden nuggets of history.
  • The words! Lyrical, conveying the longing of Dede and her family to own their own home and be masters of their own destiny. This is a book that is appropriate for all ages, children and adults alike.
  • The illustrations! I fell in love with the cover…and inside, the story comes alive on each page. Beautiful palette…and here is an artist who knows how to depict joy, sorrow, longing, excitement, satisfaction on the faces of her characters.


Make a Covered Wagon

covered wagonPhoto courtesy:

For detailed instructions on this and other fun pioneer crafts:

For more information about the Exodusters, former slaves turned pioneers:

And for more wonderful picture book reviews and activities for kids, please head over to Susanna Hill’s Perfect Picture Book Friday linky.

Don’t forget to leave a comment to be entered into the giveaway for a chance to win a copy of this amazing book. Plus, please come back tomorrow when author LaFaye stops by to chat. You will not want to miss that!!!


56 thoughts on “Perfect Picture Book Friday: FOLLOW ME DOWN TO NICODEMUS TOWN Plus Giveaway

  1. I love covered wagons! It reminds me of the Little House on the Prairie book. Thank you for the craft. This seems like a great book! Congratulations to the author and illustrator.


    • I hope your students are able to read it. And if your administration has any interest in it, I do LOVE to do school visits. Thank you!


    • Why hello, Claire! Be kind to yourself, if I asked 10 people about Exodusters, most often 10 of them would answer, “Who?” That’s a big part of why I wrote the book. You’re in good company. I hope the book will do a little to spread the word about these amazing people.


  2. I’ve never heard about this part of American history. Thanks for choosing this book, Vivian and thank you, Alexandria for telling readers about the incredible people who made Nicodemus town their home.


    • Thank you! My book is just one of a few who tell their story, but I hope there are more to come and the truth of all they did spreads far and wide.


  3. I can’t wait to get my hands on a copy of this book! The cover illustration is so inviting, not only welcoming the reader to Nicodemus Town, but to read the story too!


  4. I am really excited to read this book. I grew up on Little House on the Prairie books and now have the TV show on DVD. I do remember on the TV show that there were a few black pioneers, but this book will teach me so much more.


  5. What a fabulous find for the start of a new year! I am a kindergarten teacher and am always on a search to find quality picture books to make history come alive for my kinder-bears. This book would be wonderful for Black History Month and an incredible tie-in to so many of our standards. As a former intermediate teacher, I know I’ll be buying copies of this book for my colleagues who get that picture books are essential for all ages.


    • Betsy,
      I would be so grateful if you did that! I also have to add that there will soon be a teaching guide available for the book and that I LOVE to do school visits! Thank you.


      • Oooh! School visit? That’s an interesting possibility.
        I look forward to hearing when the teaching guide is ready. I do plan to buy a copy for my classroom, and had already thought about purchasing for a few of my upper-grade friends. With Black History Month quickly approaching, I know this book would be a fantastic way to get those 4th and 5th graders excited since our social studies curriculum always takes the back burner.


  6. The cover is so inviting. I especially appreciate the topic of this work. I have always enjoyed children’s books based upon true stories.


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