Before She Was Harriet
An evocative poem and stunning watercolors come together to honor an American heroine in a Coretta Scott King Honor and Christopher Award-winning picture book.
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.
This lush, lyrical biography in verse begins with a glimpse of Harriet Tubman as an old woman, and travels back in time through the many roles she played through her life: spy, liberator, suggragist and more. Illustrated by James Ransome, whose paintings for The Creation won a Coretta Scott King medal, this is a riveting introduction to an American hero.
Lesa Cline-Ransome and James Ransome have collaborated on many award-winning picture books for children. These include 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. The Quilt Alphabet was praised as A blue-ribbon ABC book that combines bright, folksy oil paintings and lilting riddle-poems, in a starred review in Publishers Weekly and called a feast for the eyes in 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
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