Before She Was Harriet

Written by Lesa Cline-Ransome
Illustrated by James E. Ransome

Few figures of the abolition movement have gotten the recognition of Harriet Tubman. That’s not to say there weren’t many, many more deserving souls involved in emancipation. What sets Harriet apart is just how accomplished and tireless she was. This gorgeous picture book highlights her many achievements and makes her life more real for the reader. Cleverly, the author shows that Harriet didn’t just become an old woman. She had many stops along the journey.

Before she was Harriet, she was literally known by other names, but she could also be identified by her roles. Suffragist, generally, spy, nurse, Aunt Harriet, Moses, conductor, Minty, and Araminta. The author highlights each role and draws the reader into Harriet’s world. She lets them know what life was like for this wonderful woman. The lyrical approach helps attract the reader to that world, as do the amazing illustrations. Seeing Harriet in the dark with the houses in the distance lets the reader know what a risk she was taking with the Underground Railroad. Seeing the suffragists intent on her words lets us know the respect she commanded.

Very important addition to the Harriet Tubman library.

  • Title: Before She Was Harriet
  • Author: Lesa Cline-Ransome
  • Illustrator: James E. Ransome
  • Published: Holiday House, 2017
  • Reviewer: Sue Poduska
  • Format: Hardcover, 32 pages
  • Grade Level: PreK to 3
  • Genre: Picture Book, Nonfiction, History, Biography
  • ISBN: 978-0-8234-2047-6

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published.