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Concord Festival of Authors at The Robbins House – Journey to Freedom – Helping Young Readers Understand Colonial Slavery

2021 @ 10:00 am - 11:00 am


Author Ray Shepard and educator Nikki Turpin will look at the inspiring story of Ona Judge and how her daring escape during colonial times speaks to all of us in search of racial justice. Examining Ona’s story as well as the stories of those who resided at Robbins House, we will support not only young readers as they think about the lives of those from the past but also support parents as they continue to grapple with similar issues in today’s world.

Ray Anthony Shepard

Ray Anthony Shepard’s picture book biography Runaway: The Daring Escape of Ona Judge (FSG, 2021) received starred reviews in Kirkus and Publishers Weekly, Booklist called it “a fine addition for all collections,” and it was highlighted in the Boston Sunday Globe. Ray’s young adult biography of the first African American Civil War correspondents, Now or Never!, 54th Massachusetts Infantry’s War to End Slavery (Calkins Creek, 2017) received starred reviews, was a Carter J. Woodson Honor Book, was listed by Kirkus as one of the best books of the year, and was named by the Massachusetts Center for the Book as a Must Read.

Nikki Turpin (she/her/hers) is the Director of Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion at Chapel Hill- Chauncy Hall in Waltham MA. A former teacher at Nashoba Brooks School in Concord, MA, she sits on multiple Inclusivity and Diversity Boards including the Bay State Brawlers and Hudson Sloop Clearwater. She is the Programming Director for Robbins House in Concord and was the leader of the Youth In Philanthropy Program at Middlesex School for Foundation for MetroWest. She has long held a passion for African-American history and recently presented at the Association of African American Museums, discussing the importance of telling the full stories of African-American female suffragists. She has presented and run Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion workshops at ACA New England, The National Humanities Conference, GLAD Legal Advocates and Defenders, Concord Recreation, Jewish Family and Children’s Services, and Boys and Girls Clubs of Boston, leading their professional development and leadership institute. Nikki has worked in public, private, and independent education for over a decade.


The Robbins House
320 Monument Street Across from the North Bridge and The Old Manse
Concord, 01742 United States
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The Robbins House
(978) 254-1745
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