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Iris Kirkwood

Iris Kirkwood


Iris Kirkwood, a self-taught visual artist, was born and raised in Buffalo, New York, just a few miles from Niagara Falls. She used elements of the story, the setting, the young characters, and her unique point of view, combined with digital and traditional tools, to create the visual narrative for this story. Her work is in private collections as well as exhibited in galleries and museums.

Illustrator's books

Kite to Freedom


The Story of a Kite-Flying Contest, the Niagara Falls Suspension Bridge, and the Underground Railroad


Can a kite change history? Katie and Homan’s did.


When engineers were faced with the challenge of bridging the vast Niagara Gorge, the solution was a kite-flying contest. After Katie and Homan’s kite crosses the gorge and wins the contest, construction begins on the first suspension bridge to connect the United States and Canada. The two friends are there as it becomes an important link on the Underground Railroad, helping slaves escape to freedom.


Even as her parents try to shield her from the ugly existence of slavery and the dangers of the Underground Railroad, Katie discovers that the scary truth is closer to home than she could have imagined.


Kite to Freedom is an action-packed, fictionalized account of actual events that occurred during the construction of the Niagara Falls International Suspension Bridge, which still connects the United States and Canada at Niagara Falls.


Cross Your Fingers

102 pages 

Suitable for readers between 8 and 12 years old