Before She Was Harriet by Lesa Cline-Ransome

Before She Was Harriet, a poetic tribute to an American hero, written by Lesa Cline- Ransome. There is power in a name; Moses, General Tubman, Minty, Amaminta - each of these names represented each of her roles that she had: spy, liberator, suffragist, nurse, aunt, conductor, slave, and a young girl. Illustrations compliment the words and assist us toward the mood and sets the stage for the story. 

Each section of the book describes and pictures the roles that Harriet Tubman held prior to her having this name. Rather than go in chronological order from girl to old woman, this book shares her story from old woman to girl. Most students and adults know Harriet Tubman as the woman who assisted many toward freedom from slavery through her work in the Underground Railroad. This biographical picture book shares the many unknown roles she had in her lifetime. 

In reading, the role that struck my heart strings was the one as a young girl. I cannot recall a time that I have visualized the woman conductor, known as Harriet Tubman as a little girl. Students may not have had this thought either, as they have been taught about her during a unit on slavery or during Black History month. Lesa writes, "Araminta was her name who was taught by her father to read the woods and the stars at night readying for the day" (p. 21). I believe, bringing this understanding and awareness of Harriet Tubman as a little girl into the eyes of children can be an incredible experience. It is here in her lifetime they can relate to.

Lesa Cline-Ransome and James Ransome discuss their lives, their careers, and their children's book, "Before She Was Harriet", at Politics and Prose in the following YouTube Video:

I read this book as a part of my #BookaDay Reading Challenge, inspired by Donalyn Miller. My goal is to read at least one children's literature book every weekday and share my thoughts here on my blog. Please feel free to subscribe or connect with me on social media to follow my journey through the books I read. Until next time ...

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