A struggle over a bowl of popcorn begins another time-traveling adventure for Nick, Jackie, and Hannah. When Mr. Barrington's trunk magically appears on the Taylors' kitchen table, a family of slaves steps out, followed by a snapping dog. Jackie is mistaken for an escaped slave and kidnapped by a hideous man. Trying to save her, Hannah and Nick are transported back to June 1865 only to discover that even though the Civil War has ended months before, many Texas plantation owners still own slaves.
Befriended by twins Sam and Lily, the time travelers witness horrific truths of plantation life: whippings, beatings, and families being torn apart. After Lily is sold to another plantation in Galveston, they devise with Sam a plan to rescue her. Their race against time takes them through a spooky graveyard and over a river teeming with alligators, with vicious hounds in close pursuit.
With the absorbing pace and historic detail that Mr. Barrington's Mysterious Trunk fans have come to expect, Cuate leads her protagonists, and her young readers, to the first Juneteenth.
Fourth-grade teacher Melodie A. Cuate draws from travel and classroom experience for each new episode in the award winning Mr. Barrington's Mysterious Trunk series for young readers. In addition to writing, she conducts teacher workshops with curriculum developed specifically for the series. The recipient of the 2007-07 Linden Heck Howell Outstanding Teaching of Texas History Award, Cuate lives with her husband Tony, and daughter, Erica, in McAllen, Texas.