Review by Booklist Review
This chapter-book biography of Harriet Tubman is notable due to the attention it pays to her early life, long before she became known as Moses, the legendary conductor of the Underground Railroad. Beginning at her birth, the story-like text moves along at a brisk pace, relating anecdotes that will appeal to young readers and help them better understand what it meant to be an enslaved person. Each episode serves as a building block that explains how Harriet developed the strength and perseverance that got her through many harrowing events, from rescuing other enslaved people to her stints as a nurse and a spy during the Civil War. The engaging language and manageable chapters are appealing, and the simple line drawings that appear every few pages add nuance. A final chapter, "How You Can Persist," offers suggested activities (help a lost person, create a legacy quilt). References and suggested websites guide readers to additional resources. Based on Chelsea Clinton's She Persisted picture-book series, this expanded version will be good for report writers and general curriculum support.Women in Focus: The 19th in 2020
From Booklist, Copyright (c) American Library Association. Used with permission.
Review by Publisher's Weekly Review
In this chapter book series opener expanding upon Chelsea Clinton and Alexandra Boiger's She Persisted picture book series, Coretta Scott King Award winner Pinkney (The Red Pencil) presents an accessible portrait of American abolitionist, activist, nurse, and spy Harriet Tubman. In a brief introduction, Clinton explains that she "wanted all of us to see examples of persistence in the face of different challenges to help inspire us in our own lives"; Boiger provides cover art that embodies this sentiment. Pinkney then launches into how Harriet Tubman, born enslaved, persevered not only to gain her own freedom, but helped many others gain liberation through the Underground Railroad. Pinkney's six-chapter narrative spans from Tubman's birth until her later years as a spy for the Union Army, allowing readers an in-depth review of Tubman's life, while interior artist Flint delivers powerfully tender black-and-white mixed media images of Tubman's journey. With activities and resources "to honor Harriet Tubman's determination and bravery," an interactive final section titled "How You Can Persist" challenges young readers to think about how they too can persist beyond the pages of this luminous first installment. Final art not seen by PW. Ages 6--9. Agent: (for Pinkney) Rebecca Sherman, Writers House; (for Flint) James Burns, the Bright Agency. (Jan.)
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Review by School Library Journal Review
Gr 2--4--Fast-paced, short chapters and a conversational tone make this entry in the "She Persisted" series an accessible and appealing choice for new readers. The text unpacks Harriet Tubman's motivations in an honest but child-appropriate manner. Perhaps most valuable is Pinkney's frank discussion of slavery. At the beginning of the book, the text explains, "Minty and her parents were considered property, in the same way people had objects like a tea kettle or a hammer that belonged to them. That's what slavery was--White people owning Black people." The text describes how people could be sold, just like objects, and the devastating impact that system had on enslaved families. Pinkney shows respect for her audience by using direct language, clearly demonstrating why Tubman made difficult and brave decisions throughout her life. Shorter than biographies in the "Who Was" and "I Am" series, this title relates incidents from different parts of Tubman's life to provide an overarching view of her accomplishments. Black-and-white illustrations further humanize Tubman. VERDICT This engaging biography is a quick but informative read and well-matched for the intended audience.--Lucinda Snyder Whitehurst, St. Christopher's Sch., Richmond, VA
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Review by Horn Book Review
A note from Chelsea Clinton (author of the picture-book series off which this new chapter-book series was spun) opens each title. Clinton describes partnering with a "sisterhood of writers" to bring readers "inspiring and empowering" chapter-book biographies: "I wanted young girls -- and young boys, too -- to see women who worked hard to live their dreams." Cline-Ransome and Pinkney present the stories of their subjects, Claudette Colvin and Harriet Tubman, respectively, through engaging and informative narratives that include detail beyond the actions for which they are most famous. Colvin, the teenage activist who defied bus segregation laws nine months before Rosa Parks, is shown grieving her sister's untimely death. Tubman, abolitionist and renowned conductor on the Underground Railroad, had an unhappy marriage. The inclusion of these challenges paints deeper portraits of the women and showcases how they persisted through multiple hardships (though Colvin's pregnancy as a teenager is not mentioned). In both books, the text succeeds in being simultaneously utilitarian and lyrical, with abundant figurative language and some direct quotations bringing scenes to life. The books build up context by addressing topics such as enslavement and Jim Crow laws so that readers have background knowledge to clearly comprehend Tubman's and Colvin's actions. Short chapters, wide margins, and emotive illustrations (seen as sketches) function to support middle-grade nonfiction chapter-book readers. Back matter includes references as well as a list of suggested actions labeled "How You Can Persist." Elisa Gall March/April 2021 p.108(c) Copyright 2021. The Horn Book, Inc., a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.
(c) Copyright The Horn Book, Inc., a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.
Review by Kirkus Book Review
A loving tribute to Harriet Tubman kicks off a chapter-book series spinoff of the She Persisted books created by Chelsea Clinton and Alexandra Boiger. There are many books written about the incredible historical figure that is Harriet Tubman. This chapter-book biography humanizes "Minty" and brings her to life in ways many other texts for children do not. With language that reflects contemporary usage (enslaved people rather than slaves in most cases) and makes clear the brutality of the period, Pinkney introduces young readers to intimate details of Tubman's life, referring to her subject as Minty during her youth and Harriet after her marriage. Readers will meet Minty's loving parents, Old Rit and Old Ben, wince at the cruelty of the Brodess family and other people who trafficked enslaved people, and cheer for Harriet as she navigates the complexities and intersectionality of surviving as a Black woman in the pre-emancipation United States. Pinkney's powerful prose details Tubman's work on the Underground Railroad and, later, as a Union spy--and her fruitless advocacy for a pension afterward. Flint's grayscale artwork, done to emulate Boiger's style, gracefully accompanies the writing, creating a mood that explores the gravity of Tubman's life and deeds while still making her approachable. This is the first of 13 books, to be published one per month, that will bring the stories of monumental women to the forefront. Pinkney and Flint have created a standout series opener. (activity guide, further reading, websites) (Biography. 6-10) Copyright (c) Kirkus Reviews, used with permission.
Copyright (c) Kirkus Reviews, used with permission.