Before She Was Harriet

by Lesa Cline-Ransome and James Ransome

A journey backward in time through the life of the woman known most often as “Harriet... read more

A journey backward in time through the life of the woman known most often as “Harriet Tubman” emphasizes the many roles she played—suffragist, Union spy, nurse, conductor on the Underground Railroad, daughter—the many names by which she was known—General Tubman, Aunt Harriet, Moses, Minty, Araminta—and the name she chose for herself, Harriet. She “dreamed of living long enough / to one day / be old / stiff and achy / tired and worn and wrinkled / and free.” The skillful narrative’s imaginative and effective structure, in which Tubman’s life unspools from old woman back to childhood, allows the child audience to build on prior knowledge and emphasizes Harriet’s agency throughout her life. The many facets of Tubman’s life and the many roles she played are vividly portrayed in the full-page paintings that provide a rich backdrop for the fine narrative. Highly Commended, 2018 Charlotte Zolotow Award (Ages 6-9)

© Cooperative Children's Book Center, Univ. of Wisconsin - Madison, 2018

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