The Riverboat Adventures: Escape into the Night by Lois Walfrid Johnson (Published by Bethany House, July 1995)
Since her mother's death four years ago, twelve-year-old Libby Norstad has lived with her aunt and uncle in their Chicago mansion. In that time, she has seen her father only rarely, because he is a riverboat captain on the Mississippi River. Now that Libby is older, her father has decided that she will live with him on his riverboat, the Christina.
The year is 1857, and arguments over slavery are beginning to divide the nation. Libby has never had to think much about slavery, but she has always assumed that slaves are well-treated by their masters, and are better off that way than trying to make it on their own. But her new life aboard the Christina challenges her beliefs, when she discovers that Caleb, the ship's cabin boy, is active in the Underground Railroad. Caleb exposes Libby to the horrors of slavery, and she is forced to confront her beliefs about right and wrong for the first time in her life.
This book was well-written and full of interesting historical details, and Libby's character transformation was believable. I would recommend it to readers who are interested middle grade historical fiction about this topic, and I look forward to reading the rest of the books in the series.