Before She Was Harriet : The Story of Harriet Tubman
by Cline-Ransome, Lesa; Ransome, James E. (ILT)






Written in verse and complemented by watercolor illustrations from a Coretta Scott King Award-winning artist, a lyrical portrait of the Union spy and Underground Railroad heroine illuminates her humble origins, intrepid spirit and compassionate heart. Jr Lib Guild. Simultaneous eBook.





Lesa Cline-Ransome and James Ransome have collaborated on many award-winning picture books for children. These include Before She was Harriet, a Coretta Scott King honor book; Benny Goodman & Teddy Wilson: Taking the Stage as the first Black-and-White Jazz Band in History; Satchel Paige, which was an ALA Best Book for Children and Words Set Me Free: The Story of Young Frederick Douglass, which received starred reviews in Booklist and School Library Journal. They live in the Hudson River Valley region of New York.





*Starred Review* In reverse chronology, Harriet Tubman's multifaceted accomplishments come to life through poetic text and vivid watercolor images. Suffragist, general, spy, nurse, Aunt Harriet, Moses, conductor, Minty, Araminta-each name she was called is briefly outlined in text that works on many levels. The poetic text and artistic presentation are simultaneously simple enough for young children to understand and sophisticated enough to inspire adults. Dramatic images, such as Tubman in a boat on the Combahee River with Union soldiers and previously enslaved people, may encourage middle- and high-school students to investigate more about her life. Recalling Tubman's association with the Underground Railroad, the Ransomes cleverly frame the story in a train journey. As Tubman boards the train, her aged face, beautiful and determined, is followed immediately by a large portrait of her in earlier days, alone under a star-filled sky. Once those associations are established, they explore each role, with subsequent page spreads depicting her work for women's rights, in the Civil War, and leading others to freedom. Taking her story all the way to childhood is an evocative way for young readers to understand how each stage of her life developed. The final page returns to Tubman on the train, continuing her journey as a free person. Libraries likely already have many Harriet Tubman books, but this well-designed, unique approach warrants making room for one more. Copyright 2017 Booklist Reviews.





A memorable, lyrical reverse-chronological walk through the life of an American icon.In free verse, Cline-Ransome narrates the life of Harriet Tubman, starting and ending with a train ride Tubman takes as an old woman. "But before wrinkles formed / and her eyes failed," Tubman could walk tirelessly under a starlit sky. Cline-Ransome then describes the array of roles Tubman played throughout her life, including suffragist, abolitionist, Union spy, and conductor on the Underground Railroad. By framing the story around a literal train ride, the Ransomes juxtapose the privilege of traveling by rail against Harriet's earlier modes of travel, when she repeatedly ran for her life. Racism still abounds, however, for she rides in a segregated train. While the text introduces readers to the details of Tubman's life, Ransome's use of watercolor—such a striking departure from his oil illustrations in many of his other picture books—reveals Tubman's humanity, determination, dr ive, and hope. Ransome's lavishly detailed and expansive double-page spreads situate young readers in each time and place as the text takes them further into the past. A picture book more than worthy of sharing the shelf with Alan Schroeder and Jerry Pinkney's Minty (1996) and Carole Boston Weatherford and Kadir Nelson's Moses (2006). (Picture book/biography. 5-8) Copyright Kirkus 2017 Kirkus/BPI Communications. All rights reserved.






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