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|Before she was Harriet|
Author: Cline-Ransome, Lesa
Poetry that celebrates the diverse accomplishments of Harriet Tubman as revealed by her many names.
|Accelerated Reader Information:|
Interest Level: LG
Reading Level: 4.50
Points: .5 Quiz: 193579
Coretta Scott King Illustrator Honor, 2018
Common Core Standards
Grade 2 → Reading → RI Informational Text → Texts Illustrating the Complexity, Quality, & Rang
Grade 2 → Reading → RI Informational Text → 2.RI Key Ideas & Details
Grade 2 → Reading → RI Informational Text → 2.RI Craft & Structure
Grade 2 → Reading → RI Informational Text → 2.RI Integration of Knowledge & Ideas
Grade 3 → Reading → RI Informational Text → 3.RI Range of Reading & Level of Text Complexity
Grade 3 → Reading → RI Informational Text → Texts Illustrating Complexity, Quality, & Range of
Grade 3 → Reading → RI Informational Text → 3.RI Craft & Structure
Grade 3 → Reading → RI Informational Text → 3.RI Integration of Knowledge & Ideas
School Library Journal (+) (10/01/17)
Booklist (+) (09/01/17)
The Bulletin of the Center for Children's Books (00/12/17)
The Hornbook (00/01/18)
Full Text Reviews:
Booklist - 09/01/2017 *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.
School Library Journal - 10/01/2017 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 Publishers Weekly, Library Journal and/or School Library Journal used with permission.