Skip to main content
Displaying 1 of 1
Before she was Harriet : the story of Harriet Tubman
2017
Please select and request a specific volume by clicking one of the icons in the 'Availability' section below.
Availability
Map It
Annotations

Written in verse and complemented by watercolor illustrations from a Coretta Scott King Award-winning artist, a lyrical portrait of the Union spy and Underground Railroad heroine illuminates her humble origins, intrepid spirit and compassionate heart. Jr Lib Guild. Simultaneous eBook. - (Baker & Taylor)

A lyrical biography of Harriet Tubman honors the woman of humble origins whose courage and compassion make her larger than life, discussing her roles as a slave, a conductor on the Underground Railroad, a nurse, a Union spy, and a suffragist. - (Baker & Taylor)

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 
- (Holiday House)

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 
- (Random House, Inc.)

Author Biography

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. - (Random House, Inc.)

Large Cover Image
Trade Reviews

Booklist Reviews

*Starred Review* In reverse chronology, Harriet Tubman's multifaceted accomplishments come to life through poetic text and vivid watercolor images. Suffragist, general, spy, nurse, Aunt Harriet, Moses, conductor, Minty, Araminta—each name she was called is briefly outlined in text that works on many levels. The poetic text and artistic presentation are simultaneously simple enough for young children to understand and sophisticated enough to inspire adults. Dramatic images, such as Tubman in a boat on the Combahee River with Union soldiers and previously enslaved people, may encourage middle- and high-school students to investigate more about her life. Recalling Tubman's association with the Underground Railroad, the Ransomes cleverly frame the story in a train journey. As Tubman boards the train, her aged face, beautiful and determined, is followed immediately by a large portrait of her in earlier days, alone under a star-filled sky. Once those associations are established, they explore each role, with subsequent page spreads depicting her work for women's rights, in the Civil War, and leading others to freedom. Taking her story all the way to childhood is an evocative way for young readers to understand how each stage of her life developed. The final page returns to Tubman on the train, continuing her journey as a free person. Libraries likely already have many Harriet Tubman books, but this well-designed, unique approach warrants making room for one more. Copyright 2017 Booklist Reviews.

School Library Journal Reviews

Gr 3–6—Before and after Harriet Tubman became the stalwart conductor leading enslaved people to freedom on the Underground Railroad, she played many remarkable roles during her long life. Cline-Ransome honors Tubman in lyrical verse, beginning when the heroine is "tired and worn/her legs stiff/her back achy." In each stanza, Tubman looks back to the time "before she was an old woman." She recalls speaking out against injustice as a suffragist providing "a voice for women/who had none/in marriages/in courts/in voting booths." She recollects everything she accomplished during the Civil War, spying for the Union and nursing the wounded. Looking back even farther, she remembers leading her people out of bondage and then her own arduous years in the slave owners' fields. Before all of this, Tubman was a little girl named Araminta who dreamed of the time she would "leave behind slavery/along with her name/and pick a new one/Harriet." 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." VERDICT This lovely tribute effectively communicates Tubman's everlasting bravery and resolve, and will inspire curious readers to learn more.—Linda L. Walkins, Saint Joseph Preparatory High School, Boston

Copyright 2017 School Library Journal.

Librarian's View
Displaying 1 of 1