Before She Was Harriet
Author: Lesa Cline-Ransome
For KS2/Juniors
Price 7.99 paperback
Book(s) at 7.99 paperback
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Before She Was Harriet This picture book tribute to Harriet Tubman combines a narrative in free verse with watercolour illustration to dramatise the multiple roles and names she assumed at different stages of her life. The book opens and closes with the image of a tired old woman embarking on a train journey, but we read her face differently after the progressive revelations from her past. We journey backwards, first to scenes of her work as a suffragist, then to an earlier period when she earned the sobriquet, General Tubman, for helping people flee the Civil War. We learn that prior to this she had acted as a Union Spy and nurse to the wounded. When younger, she was hailed as Moses-like figure, guiding escapees from slavery on the Underground Railroad, a destiny anticipated in childhood when she learned to read the night sky and nurtured dreams of a future beyond the shackles of the plantation. As a young girl she was known as Araminta, or Minty, an identity she would reject when gaining her own freedom. Harriet is the name she chooses, so marking the birth of a redoubtable, self-made leader.