A Heart on Fire:

Quaker Benjamin Lay’s Fight for Equality in Colonial America

Calkins Creek/Astra Books for Young Readers (Spring 2026).

Benjamin Lay (1682-1759) was a passionate advocate for ending enslavement everywhere, but especially in the colony of Pennsylvania. As Benjamin Rush, a signer of the Declaration of Independence, wrote about him in 1790:

“There was a time when the name of [Benjamin Lay] . . . was familiar to every man, woman, and to nearly every child, in Pennsylvania. —His size, which was not much above four feet, his dress, which was always the same . . .; —his milk white beard, which hung upon his breast; and, above all, his peculiar principles and conduct, rendered him to many, an object of admiration, and to all, the subject of conversation.”

Illustrated by Carlyn Beccia.