Before She was Harriet (Hardcover)
Who was Harriet Tubman before she was Harriet?
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. As Araminta she was a young girl whose father showed her the stars and the first steps on the path to freedom.
An evocative poem and stunning watercolors come together to honor a woman of humble origins whose courage and compassion make her a larger than life hero.
A lush and lyrical biography of Harriet Tubman, written in verse and illustrated by James Ransome, winner of the Coretta Scott King medal for The Creation.
A Junior Library Guild Selection
A Coretta Scott King Honor Book
A Christopher Award winner
A Jane Addams Children's Honor Book
A Booklist "Top of the List" selection
About the Author
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.
★ "Simultaneously simple enough for young children to understand and sophisticated enough to inspire adults."—Booklist, Starred Review
★ "A memorable, lyrical reverse-chronological walk through the life of an American icon. While the text introduces readers to the details of Tubman's life, Ransome's use of watercolor . . . reveals Tubman's humanity, determination, drive, 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."—Kirkus Reviews, Starred Review
★ "This striking reverse chronology opens with a regal portrait of an elderly Harriet Tubman, after which the Ransomes chart her decades of work in pursuit of equality. [Lesa Cline-Ransome’s] incisive free verse emphasize[s] Tubman’s bravery in the face of a multitude of dangers. James Ransome’s watercolor portraits imbue Tubman with a steely determination―at every age―in lush scenes often set against blazing summer skies and blue, moonlit nights. Beyond its recognition of all that Tubman accomplished, the book serves as a powerful reminder of how all children carry within them the potential for greatness."—Publishers Weekly, Starred Review
★ "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.' This lovely tribute effectively communicates Tubman’s everlasting bravery and resolve, and will inspire curious readers to learn more."—School Library Journal, Starred Review
Displacement is simply incredible. This story follows a young girl, Kiku, living in San Fransisco who has been making small efforts to connect with her Japanese American descent, when suddenly, Kiku begins to be whisked away in time and place—what she calls being “displaced”—and she realizes she is being pulled into the time of Japanese American incarceration during WWII. These displacements keep happening, until suddenly, Kiku is trapped in the past. She is displaced into a Japanese incarceration camp, and must learn to live during this terrible time and place for her fellow Japanese Americans, without knowing if she’ll ever return. This graphic novel is so quietly powerful and so superbly genius in the way it tells the story. Kiku discusses these displacements and how horrifying it is to be taken from her home and unsure of when she’ll ever get back—which functions as a perfect allegory to the very experience of those Japanese Americans who were taken from their homes and their lives wrongfully, without knowing where they were going or how long they’d be there. It connects the reader to this painful, real experience in an amazing way. This graphic novel is also deeply educational, taking you through many facets and details of the experience of those Japanese Americans who lived through these camps, while also pointing out how limited public education is around this terrible part of our American history. Displacement will stay with me forever; this gem is a must-have for any graphic novel collection, and an extremely important read for all Americans.
(Graphic Novel, Ages 10+) - reviewed by Isabel