Plugged In exists to shine a light on the world of popular entertainment while giving you and your family the essential tools you need to understand, navigate and impact the culture in which we live. Through reviews, articles and discussions, we want to spark intellectual thought, spiritual growth and a desire to follow the command of Colossians 2:8: "See to it that no one takes you captive through hollow and deceptive philosophy, which depends on human tradition and the basic principles of this world rather than on Christ."


Family uses Plugged In as a ‘significant compass’

"I am at a loss for words to adequately express how much it means to my husband and me to know that there is an organization like Focus that is rooting for us. Just today I was reading Psalm 37 and thinking about how your ministry provides ways to 'dwell in the land and enjoy safe pasture.' We have two teenagers and an 8-year-old in our household...Plugged In has become a significant compass for our family. All three of our kids are dedicated to their walk with Christ but they still encounter challenges. Thanks for all of your research and persistence in helping us navigate through stormy waters."

Plugged In helps college student stand-up for his belief

"Thanks for the great job you do in posting movie and television reviews online. I’m a college freshman and I recently had a confrontational disagreement with my English professor regarding an R-rated film. It is her favorite movie and she wanted to show it in class. I went to your Web site to research the film’s content. Although I had not seen the movie myself, I was able to make an educated argument against it based on the concerns you outlined. The prof said that she was impressed by my stand and decided to poll the whole class and give us a choice. We overwhelmingly voted to watch a G-rated movie instead! I’ve learned that I can trust your site and I will be using it a lot in the future.”

Plugged In brings ‘Sanity and Order’ to Non-believer

“Even though I don’t consider myself a Christian, I find your Plugged In Web site useful and thought-provoking. No one reviews movies like you do. Instead of being judgmental, you put entertainment ‘on trial.’ After presenting the evidence, you allow the jury of your readers to decide for themselves what they should do. In my opinion, you bring sanity and order to the wild world of modern day entertainment. Keep up the good work!”

Mom thinks Plugged In is the ‘BEST Christian media review site’

"Our family doesn't go to the movies until we go online and check out your assessment of a given film. I think this is the BEST Christian media review website that I've found, and I recommend it to my family and friends. Keep up the good work!"


Our hope is that whether you're a parent, youth leader or teen, the information and tools at Plugged In will help you and your family make appropriate media decisions. We are privileged to do the work we do, and are continually thankful for the generosity and support from you, our loyal readers, listeners and friends.

We hope this review was both interesting and useful. Please share it with family and friends who would benefit from it as well.

Book Review

This historical novel by Barbara Brooks-Simon is part of the "I Am American" series published by the National Geographic Society.

Escape to Freedom is written for kids ages 8 to 12 years. The age range reflects readability and not necessarily content appropriateness.

Positive Elements

Spiritual Content

Sexual Content

Violent Content

Crude or Profane Language

Drug and Alcohol Content

Other Negative Elements


Pro-social Content

Objectionable Content

Summary Advisory

Plot Summary

Callie Taylor, her grandmother Martha and William Ballard represent the many who were slaves. After offering a brief background on the Underground Railroad, the author begins her fictional tale of 14-year-old Callie in the year 1858. Plantation owners in states including Kentucky struggled financially, forcing them to sell their slaves to plantations in the Deep South. When Callie realizes her master may be planning to sell her at an auction, she realizes it may be her last chance to escape. Martha helps her find others who can guide her as she begins her journey. Around the same time, a slave named William from Elizabethtown, Ky., also realizes he must run away or be sold.

Through William's and Callie's stories, readers learn how the Underground Railroad worked. People who used and operated the Railroad had code words. Those who helped sneak slaves from one place to another were called conductors. Escaping slaves were sometimes referred to as packages. Slaves disguised themselves, sometime as members of the opposite sex or as white people. They looked and listened for secret signals, lights in windows and messages hidden in spiritual songs as they moved stealthily through the night to avoid slave hunters.

William and Callie meet when they become part of a group traveling together. Their party moves slowly northward, eventually escaping into Canada. When Callie turns 20, she and William marry. They're able to return to the United States when the 13th Amendment passes. They bring Martha to live with them, and they share their story about the cost of freedom with their children.

Christian Beliefs

Quakers, a religious group also known as the Society of Friends, disagree with slavery and often help slaves escape. Slaves sometimes sing religious songs called spirituals, which their white owners largely ignore. Spirituals often have double meanings, allowing slaves to send messages to one another.

Other Belief Systems


Authority Roles

Former slaves, such as John Parker and Harriet Tubman, risk their lives to help hundreds of slaves escape to freedom. Escaped slave Frederick Douglass inspires others by writing an abolitionist newspaper. White abolitionists such as the Rev. John Rankin offer shelter and aid to slaves despite angering local slave owners by his actions.


Slave owners beat slaves, but no graphic depictions are included.



Discussion Topics

If your children have read this book or someone has read it to them, consider these discussion topics :

What did you know about the Underground Railroad before you read this book?
* What new facts or information did you learn?
* What would have been the scariest part of being a slave running to freedom?

Who helps and supports the slaves while they are on the run?
* Why do these people risk their lives to help strangers?

Additional Comments/Notes

This review is brought to you by Focus on the Family, a donor-based ministry. Book reviews cover the content, themes and world-views of fiction books, not their literary merit, and equip parents to decide whether a book is appropriate for their children. A book's inclusion does not constitute an endorsement by Focus on the Family.

You can request a review of a title you can't find at reviewrequests@family.org.

Episode Reviews



Readability Age Range

8 to 12


Barbara Brooks-Simon






Record Label



National Geographic Society


On Video

Year Published




We hope this review was both interesting and useful. Please share it with family and friends who would benefit from it as well.

Get weekly e-news, Culture Clips & more!