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Before She Was Harriet

By: Lesa Cline-Ransome

Illustrator: James E. Ransome

An evocative poem and richly colored paintings celebrate the diverse accomplishments of Harriet Tubman, as revealed by her many names.

ISBN: 9780823420476

JLG Release: Feb 2018


Sensitive Areas: None

$12.75  Member Price


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Nonfiction Early Elementary

Grades K-2

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Awards & Honors

2018 Maryland Blue Crab Young Reader Award Honor, Transitional Nonfiction
2018 Christopher Award Winner, Ages 6 and Up
2018 Coretta Scott King Award Honor, Illustrator
2018 Charlotte Zolotow Award Highly Commended
2018 Jane Addams Children’s Book Award Honor, Younger Children
Booklist Top 10 Diverse Picture Books: 2018
Capitol Choices 2018, Seven to Ten
CCBC Choices 2018 Choice: Historical People, Places, and Events
ALA-CBC Building a Home Library Booklist - 2018
ILA Teachers' Choices - 2018
MSL Cream of the Crop - 2018
Kirkus Reviews Best Books of 2017, Picture Books
Booklist 2017 Top of the List, Editor’s Choice, Youth Picture Book
School Library Journal’s Best Books of 2017, Nonfiction
Chicago Public Library Best Books of 2017, Informational Books for Younger Readers
CSMCL Best Multicultural Children’s Books of 2017
Booklist Top of the List Editor’s Choice, Nonfiction Younger Readers
Booklilst Lasting Connections 2017, Social Studies

Praise & Reviews

Starred or favorable reviews have been received from these periodicals:

Booklist*, The Horn Book Magazine, Kirkus Reviews*, Publishers Weekly*, School Library Journal*

School Library Journal

[STARRED REVIEW]
Before and after Harriet Tubman became the stalwart conductor leading enslaved people to freedom on the Underground Railroad, she played many remarkable roles during her long life. Cline-Ransome honors Tubman in lyrical verse, beginning when the heroine is “tired and worn/her legs stiff/her back achy.” In eac
[STARRED REVIEW]
Before and after Harriet Tubman became the stalwart conductor leading enslaved people to freedom on the Underground Railroad, she played many remarkable roles during her long life. Cline-Ransome honors Tubman in lyrical verse, beginning when the heroine is “tired and worn/her legs stiff/her back achy.” In each stanza, Tubman looks back to the time “before she was an old woman.” She recalls speaking out against injustice as a suffragist providing “a voice for women/who had none/in marriages/in courts/in voting booths.” She recollects everything she accomplished during the Civil War, spying for the Union and nursing the wounded. Looking back even farther, she remembers leading her people out of bondage and then her own arduous years in the slave owners’ fields. Before all of this, Tubman was a little girl named Araminta who dreamed of the time she would “leave behind slavery/along with her name/and pick a new one/Harriet.” Each episode in her compelling life is illustrated by a luminous watercolor. The expertly done expressive paintings evoke Tubman’s strength and integrity showing “the wisp of a woman with the courage of a lion.” VERDICT This lovely tribute effectively communicates Tubman’s everlasting bravery and resolve, and will inspire curious readers to learn more.—Linda L. Walkins, Saint Joseph Preparatory High School, Boston

Horn Book

The Ransomes have crafted an evocative life story of Harriet Tubman, framed by her travels. On the first page, she gazes out at the reader as an elderly woman. In free verse, the text tells of Tubman’s past roles (in reverse chronological order) as suffragist, abolitionist, Union spy, nurse, conductor on the Underground Railroad (“Befor The Ransomes have crafted an evocative life story of Harriet Tubman, framed by her travels. On the first page, she gazes out at the reader as an elderly woman. In free verse, the text tells of Tubman’s past roles (in reverse chronological order) as suffragist, abolitionist, Union spy, nurse, conductor on the Underground Railroad (“Before she was Aunt Harriet / she was Moses”), and finally Araminta, the child whose father taught her to “read” the world around her so that she would one day be free and become, simply, Harriet. James Ransome’s arresting watercolor illustrations highlight Tubman’s face from different angles, always emphasizing her undaunted determination amidst obstacles, as she moves from place to place. The pictures offer visual details that will enhance readers’ knowledge of American history. On the title page, Tubman waits at a train station among travelers of different races, but when she finally boards the train (shown in the concluding pages of the book), an African American Pullman Porter assists her into a segregated car. When the last page returns to Tubman’s image as an old woman, preparing to undertake one more journey, the lines in her face reveal the toll fighting for justice has taken on her. michelle h. martin

Book Details

ISBN

9780823420476

First Release

February 2018

Genre

Nonfic

Dewey Classification

973.7115092

Trim Size

9" x 11"

Page Count

32

Accelerated Reader

Level 4.5; Points: 0.5;

Scholastic Reading Counts

N/A

Lexile

N/A

Format

Print Book

Edition

Hardcover edition

Publisher

Holiday House

Potentially Sensitive Areas

None

Topics


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