Before She Was Harriet

Before She Was Harriet

A lush and lyrical biography of Harriet Tubman, written in verse and illustrated by an award-winning artist.We know her today as Harriet Tubman, but in her lifetime she was called by many names. As General Tubman she was a Union spy. As Moses she led hundreds to freedom on the Underground Railroad. As Minty she was a slave whose spirit could not be broken. An evocative poe...

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Title:Before She Was Harriet
Author:Lesa Cline-Ransome
Rating:
Edition Language:English

Before She Was Harriet Reviews

  • Laura Harrison

    One of my favorite books of 2017. I can't believe I forgot to review it last year :(((((

  • Brenda Kahn

    This is more of an impressionistic biography but a beautiful one. Sparely written - are they poems? Only a few words on each line and not many on each page and nary a comma or period in sight. But these few words are evocative. The illustrations are gorgeous and powerful double-page spreads that depict Harriet Tubman at various stages of her life. I found the second-to-last spread especially poignant as this one depicts a freed Harriet boarding a train in one car while white passengers board ano

    This is more of an impressionistic biography but a beautiful one. Sparely written - are they poems? Only a few words on each line and not many on each page and nary a comma or period in sight. But these few words are evocative. The illustrations are gorgeous and powerful double-page spreads that depict Harriet Tubman at various stages of her life. I found the second-to-last spread especially poignant as this one depicts a freed Harriet boarding a train in one car while white passengers board another car.

  • Barbara

    Exquisite watercolor illustrations complement an engaging story that allows readers to look back in time on the life journey of Harriet Tubman. I appreciated how the author chose to begin the story near the end of Tubman's life now that she's "tired and worn / her legs stiff / her back achy" (unpaged) after all that she's been through rather than at the beginning. As she reflects on where she's been, readers learn about the many roles she's played throughout her life, and the various names she w

    Exquisite watercolor illustrations complement an engaging story that allows readers to look back in time on the life journey of Harriet Tubman. I appreciated how the author chose to begin the story near the end of Tubman's life now that she's "tired and worn / her legs stiff / her back achy" (unpaged) after all that she's been through rather than at the beginning. As she reflects on where she's been, readers learn about the many roles she's played throughout her life, and the various names she went by, reeling back those memories all the way to her childhood, and then returning to her life now. There is something to love about the text and illustrations on every page, including the gentle way she is assisted onto a train, and the way her story concludes. It's clear that the dream she once had of being free has come true, and now she can rest on her labors. Somehow, this book manages to capture the essence of Harriet Tubman throughout the decades in a way that others may not have been able to do. This book will fit perfectly in a collection of books devoted to civil rights or one focused on self-empowerment or strong women. As I closed the book after reading it several times, I wondered what Harriet would make of the world around her today.

  • Joan

    I did not expect to be impressed by this book. There have been so many books done about Tubman, some of them fairly recently, that were well done, I couldn't see what was left to say at this time. Well, the book proved me wrong. It is told in a reverse kind of "This is the house that Jack Built" poem. It starts with an old lady sitting on a bench likely waiting for a train to arrive and watching other people around her. It begins " Here she sits/ an old woman/ tired and worn/ her legs still/ her

    I did not expect to be impressed by this book. There have been so many books done about Tubman, some of them fairly recently, that were well done, I couldn't see what was left to say at this time. Well, the book proved me wrong. It is told in a reverse kind of "This is the house that Jack Built" poem. It starts with an old lady sitting on a bench likely waiting for a train to arrive and watching other people around her. It begins " Here she sits/ an old woman/ tired and worn/ her legs still/ her back achy". It then goes back one double spread page at a time and recounts how before she was an old woman she was....and on and on till we are back at her girlhood, with the name Araminta. It is very well done this method allows the author to show all the varied roles Tubman played in her life and what a well rounded amazing woman she was. This would be my go to book for the younger crowd but also would be a great read aloud to an older grade learning about Black History Month or Women's Month. In many ways this might be the most impressive book so far that I've read of this year's awards!

  • Donalyn

    Gorgeous book. I liked the circular nature of the story and the reminder that Harriet Tubman wore many names and roles during her life.

  • destiny ♎ [howling libraries]

    I love children's nonfiction books about important historical figures, because I think it's so important that little ones are taught not only fairytales, but real-life matters and history, too. Harriet is certainly a woman that every children should be taught about and inspired by, and I loved the twist in the sense that this book traces her life backward, before coming full circle 'round to her as a peaceful old woman, basking in th

    I love children's nonfiction books about important historical figures, because I think it's so important that little ones are taught not only fairytales, but real-life matters and history, too. Harriet is certainly a woman that every children should be taught about and inspired by, and I loved the twist in the sense that this book traces her life backward, before coming full circle 'round to her as a peaceful old woman, basking in the freedom she risked her life for.

  • Jana

    An inspiring story - one I will share with my students this year. Beautifully written.

  • Suzanne

    There are plenty of picture book biographies of Harriet Tubman, but the Ransomes have created a beautiful and poetic look at her life. Each time the page turns, another part of her life is named and shown. Old woman, suffragist, General Tubman, Union spy, nurse, Aunt Harriet, Moses, Minty, Araminta...each of those aspects led to the old woman who was "worn and wrinkled and

    ."

    While the beautiful watercolors show details of Harriet's world - horse-drawn buggies, ladies in long skirts and wide

    There are plenty of picture book biographies of Harriet Tubman, but the Ransomes have created a beautiful and poetic look at her life. Each time the page turns, another part of her life is named and shown. Old woman, suffragist, General Tubman, Union spy, nurse, Aunt Harriet, Moses, Minty, Araminta...each of those aspects led to the old woman who was "worn and wrinkled and

    ."

    While the beautiful watercolors show details of Harriet's world - horse-drawn buggies, ladies in long skirts and wide hats at a suffragette meeting, boats slipping across a river to freedom - the text is just as lovely. Lines like, "before her voice became soft and raspy it was loud and angry rising above injustice," capture her spirit. The spirit that was in "a wisp of a woman with the courage of a lion."

    Some of my favorite scenes are those with Harriet in the night, clutching her walking stick, or looking up at the stars with her father. But I think the one I like best of all shows Harriet being helped onto a train by a Pullman Porter. It links all she did to free her people with the continued struggle and long road to the Civil Rights era.

    This is a

    for school libraries and public library children's collections.

    I received an advance copy from the publisher for review purposes.

  • Emma (Miss Print)

    Fantastic verse-like sparse text and gorgeous illustrations. My only complaint is that it has no author's note or back matter.

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