HomeBooks by AgeAges 4-8Before She Was Harriet, by Lesa Cline-Ransome | Book Review

Before She Was Harriet, by Lesa Cline-Ransome | Book Review

The Children’s Book Review | March 4, 2018

Before She was HarrietBefore She Was Harriet

Written by Lesa Cline-Ransome

Illustrated by James E. Ransome

Age Range: 4-7

Publisher: Holiday House Publishing (2017)

ISBN: 978-0-8234-2047-6

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.

Available Here: 


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 , and .

Jen Harrison currently teaches English Composition and Composition Skills at East Stroudsburg University. She completed her PhD in Children's and Victorian Literature at Aberystwyth University in Wales, in the UK. There she also acted as an instructor teaching undergraduate courses on literature and literary theory, as well as further education courses on Children's Literature and Creative Writing. After a brief spell in administration, Jen then trained as a secondary school English teacher, and worked for several years teaching Secondary School English, working independently as a private tutor of English, and working in nursery and primary schools as a substitute teacher. After moving from the UK to the USA in 2016, Jen is very happy to have returned to higher education. Her current research focuses on three primary areas in the field of children’s literature: reader-writer relationships, thing-theory, and the supernatural; she is a reviewer for the International Research Society for the Study of Children’s Literature (IRSCL), as well as the Children's Book Review. Jen also writes an academic blog on Children's Literature, Worrisome Words: http://quantum.esu.edu/faculty/jharrison/. You can also find her on Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/jennifer.harrison.73594

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