The Children’s Book Review | March 4, 2018
Before She Was Harriet
Written by Lesa Cline-Ransome
Illustrated by James E. Ransome
Age Range: 4-7
Publisher: Holiday House Publishing (2017)
What to Expect: Black History, Empowered and Inspiring Female Character.
Just in time for Black History Month and Women’s History Month, this new picture book from Holiday House Publishing tells one of the classic tales of American civil rights history. Harriet Tubman is well known as one of the most infamous organizers of the Underground Railway, but before that she was many things: a suffragette, a Union spy, a nurse, an aunt, a daughter. This beautiful biography tells anew the story of Harriet’s life.
When a story is as well-known as Harriet Tubman’s, it can be difficult to find a fresh and engaging angle. Lesa Cline-Ransome and James E. Ransome achieve this by reminding us that celebrities such as Harriet are not only figure-heads and leaders, but also real people with intimate, difficult, passionate lives. The narrative moves backwards through time, allowing readers to start with what they know and then uncover the truths they might not have known about the past. As the story regresses back through time Harriet is shown as increasingly young and innocent, but never as less passionate, dedicated, or compassionate. Celebrating the length, diversity and strength of this extraordinary woman’s life, this volume urges readers to remember her humanity as well as her fame.
About the Author
Lesa Cline-Ransome has written ten picture books for children, including two ALA Notable Books. Her work focuses on African American history.
Before She Was Harriet, written by Lesa Cline-Ransome and illustrated by James E. Ransome, was reviewed by Dr. Jen Harrison. Discover more books like Before She Was Harriet by following along with our reviews and articles tagged with Biographies, Black History Month, Harriet Tubman, James E. Ransome, Lesa Cline-Ransome, Non-Fiction, Strong Female Characters, and Women’s History.