Before She Was Harriet

Before She Was Harriet, by Lesa Cline-Ransome, Illustrated by James E. Ransome, Holiday House 2017

Publisher’s Description: “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.”

Lesa Cline-Ransome and James E. Ransome are an experienced author-illustrator wife-husband team with multiple published books. I thought this 4th of July weekend would be the perfect time to review this moving non-fiction biography of a great American – Harriet Tubman.

Before She Was Harriet is a beautifully lyrical, poetic, and moving tribute to Harriet Tubman, a woman who definitely deserves to be honored by having her face printed on the U.S. $20 bill. Her amazing strength, determination, courage, and kindness were both admirable and inspiring. It’s truly amazing how much she overcame and accomplished in her lifetime, and how many people she helped.

This book honors Harriet Tubman’s legacy by beginning with a portrait of her as an old woman, and moving backwards through time to show what a difference she made as a suffragist, a general, a Union spy, a nurse, a daughter and aunt, a conductor on the underground railroad, and a former slave – a woman

“who dreamed

of living long enough

to one day

be old

stiff and achy

tired and worn and wrinkled

and free.”

Go grab this book, and prepare to be moved and inspired.

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