Book Detail

Holiday House / Before She was Harriet
Before She was Harriet

Buy the Book at:
Barnes & Noble

Before She was Harriet

by Lesa Cline-Ransome
Illustrator(s): James E. Ransome
Hardcover | Pages : 32
Size: 9 X 11 | USD $17.95
ISBN: 9780823420476 | Pub Date: 2017-11-07

Grade: FIRST | Age: 4 to 8
Other Editions: Ebook

Themes: Women's History, Poetry, African American Interest, 19th Century, Racism & Prejudice, Human & Civil Rights
Recommendations: ,A*,C,H,K*,PW*,SLJ*

About the Book

A lush and lyrical biography of Harriet Tubman, written in verse and illustrated by an award-winning artist.

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. An evocative poem and opulent watercolors come together to honor a woman of humble origins whose courage and compassion make her larger than life. A Junior Library Guild Selection.


★ "Simultaneously simple enough for young children to understand and sophisticated enough to inspire adults . . . Libraries likely already have many Harriet Tubman books, but this well-designed, unique approach warrants making room for one more."—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. A picture book more than worthy of sharing the shelf with Alan Schroeder and Jerry Pinkney's Minty (1996) and Carole Boston Weatherford and Kadir Nelson's Moses (2006)."—Kirkus Reviews, Starred Review

★ “Striking . . . a powerful reminder of how all children carry within them the potential for greatness.”—Publishers Weekly, Starred Review

★ “Inspirational and gorgeous.”—Shelf Awareness, Starred Review

★ “This lovely tribute effectively communicates Tubman’s ¬everlasting bravery and resolve, and will -inspire curious readers to learn more.”—School Library Journal, Starred Review

Awards & Honors
A 2018 Charlotte Zolotow Award Highly Commended Title
An NCTE Notable Poetry Book (2018)
A Center for the Study of Multicultural Children’s Literature (CSMCL) Best Book of 2017
A Booklist Editors’ Choice (2017)
A Kirkus Reviews Best Picture Book (2017)
Original artwork included in the 2017 Society of Illustrators Original Art Exhibit (11/1/17-12/30/17)
2017 EUREKA! Nonfiction Honor Award
NAACP Image Award Nominee for Outstanding Literary Work – Children (2018)