STARRED REVIEW
November 2017

A hero’s journey

By Lesa Cline-Ransome, illustrated by James E. Ransome

Children may be familiar with the name Harriet Tubman, and they may even know some of the story of the Underground Railroad. But they probably don’t know Harriet the person—from her days before she led slaves to freedom.

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Children may be familiar with the name Harriet Tubman, and they may even know some of the story of the Underground Railroad. But they probably don’t know Harriet the person—from her days before she led slaves to freedom.

In a clever and poetic take on the life of this famed figure, the dynamic team of Lesa Cline-Ransome and her husband, James E. Ransome, goes backward in time. The book opens with a powerful portrait of a wizened Tubman, tired and worn from her decades of fighting for freedom. With every page turn, short verse takes readers further back, to when Tubman was a suffragist, a nurse, a Union spy, an aunt, a slave known as Minty . . . and a little girl known as Araminta.

It’s important to remember Tubman’s contributions, but it’s even more important to realize that she once was a young girl, full of strength, courage and the will to do something. This is a powerful and poetic biographical sketch ideal for elementary school readers.

 

This article was originally published in the November 2017 issue of BookPage. Download the entire issue for the Kindle or Nook.

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Before She Was Harriet

Before She Was Harriet

By Lesa Cline-Ransome, illustrated by James E. Ransome
Holiday House
ISBN 9780823420476

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