Before She Was Harriet by Lesa Cline-Ransome

Before She Was Harriet

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 ...

Details Before She Was Harriet

TitleBefore She Was Harriet
Release DateNov 7th, 2017
PublisherHoliday House
GenreChildrens, Picture Books, Biography, Nonfiction, History, Poetry, Cultural, African American

Reviews Before She Was Harriet

  • Donalyn
    Gorgeous book. I liked the circular nature of the story and the reminder that Harriet Tubman wore many names and roles during her life.
  • destiny ♎ [howling libraries]
    Assigned reading for MLIS 7421: Multicultural Youth Literature.I love children's nonfiction books about important historical figures, because I think it's so important that little ones are taught not only fairytales, but real-life matters and history, too. Harriet is certainly a woman that every children should be taught about and inspired by, and I loved the twist in the sense that this book traces her life backward, before coming full circle 'r...
  • Laura Harrison
    One of my favorite books of 2017. I can't believe I forgot to review it last year :(((((
  • Barbara
    Exquisite watercolor illustrations complement an engaging story that allows readers to look back in time on the life journey of Harriet Tubman. I appreciated how the author chose to begin the story near the end of Tubman's life now that she's "tired and worn / her legs stiff / her back achy" (unpaged) after all that she's been through rather than at the beginning. As she reflects on where she's been, readers learn about the many roles she's playe...
  • Joan
    I did not expect to be impressed by this book. There have been so many books done about Tubman, some of them fairly recently, that were well done, I couldn't see what was left to say at this time. Well, the book proved me wrong. It is told in a reverse kind of "This is the house that Jack Built" poem. It starts with an old lady sitting on a bench likely waiting for a train to arrive and watching other people around her. It begins " Here she sits/...
  • Jana
    An inspiring story - one I will share with my students this year. Beautifully written.
  • Emma (Miss Print)
    Fantastic verse-like sparse text and gorgeous illustrations. My only complaint is that it has no author's note or back matter.
  • Suzanne
    There are plenty of picture book biographies of Harriet Tubman, but the Ransomes have created a beautiful and poetic look at her life. Each time the page turns, another part of her life is named and shown. Old woman, suffragist, General Tubman, Union spy, nurse, Aunt Harriet, Moses, Minty, Araminta...each of those aspects led to the old woman who was "worn and wrinkled and free." While the beautiful watercolors show details of Harriet's world - h...
  • Brenda Kahn
    This is more of an impressionistic biography but a beautiful one. Sparely written - are they poems? Only a few words on each line and not many on each page and nary a comma or period in sight. But these few words are evocative. The illustrations are gorgeous and powerful double-page spreads that depict Harriet Tubman at various stages of her life. I found the second-to-last spread especially poignant as this one depicts a freed Harriet boarding a...
  • Michelle
    Harriet Tubman was much more than just the conductor on the underground railroad. This talks about all parts of her life and shows that she was just so much more than the one thing we know her for! I love it.
  • Alyson (Kid Lit Frenzy)
    I loved the text and art in this one. Another good one for a mentor text.
  • Becky
    First sentence: Here she sits/ an old woman/ tired and worn/ her legs stiff/ her back achy/ but before wrinkles formed/ and her eyes failed/ before she reached/ her twilight years/ she could walk for miles/ and see clearly/ under a sky lit only with stars.Premise/plot: Before She Was Harriet is a picture book biography of Harriet Tubman written in verse. The picture book opens and closes with Harriet as an old woman. The poem looks backwards on h...
  • Maritsa Vazquez
    content area: social studiesFiction Book: Juneteenth for Mazie by Floyd Cooper. Published 2015.Before She Was Harriet is about Harriet Tubman's life and her different roles during different stages of her life. I chose to pair Before She Was Harriet with Juneteenth for Mazie. The book begins with Mazie being upset at being told no. It's too late to play outside, too close to bedtime to have a cookie, and Mazie is too young to stay up late. Her fat...
  • Laura
    Wonderful and powerful. Beginning with Harriet Tubman as an old woman, this story traces her role as a suffragist, during the Civil War, as a conductor on the Underground Railroad leading others to freedom, and as a slave working the fields in Maryland. The almost lyrical text is simple but powerful, speaking to Harriet Tubman's strength and determination to fight for freedom.Recommended for grades 4 and 5, students learning about Harriet Tubman ...
  • Jenny
    Both illustrations and text are absolutely beautiful. While this is just an introduction to Harriet Tubman and you'll likely want to pair it with other books (or at least a lot of discussion), this is a wonderful biography to introduce this remarkable woman.
  • Amy Nicole
    I really really wish there was more information about her experiences as a general, spy, and leader, but there are other books that fulfill that role. This would be a great introduction to Harriet Tubman. 4.5 AR level
  • Jesse
    What a wonderful starting point for learning about Harriet Tubman! I found myself wanting to find more resources to learn more about each part of her life. The verse was strong and the illustrations beautiful.
  • Olivia Birazzi
    The powerfully written, poetic, biography of Harriet Tubman provides the reader with the backwards story of the leader of the Underground Railroad. As each page is turned, the reader learns of a new name and role of Harriet Tubman, ranging from a suffragist, to a general, a union spy, nurse, aunt and finally a conductor. Simple, yet inspiring word choice to engage all readers on the life of Harriet Tubman. Nominee for the Coretta Scott King Illus...
  • Jennifer Mangler
    This is a gorgeous book! I love how the book uses the names she was given or chose to use to tell the story of the many important roles she played in this country.
  • Aliza Werner
    Harriett Tubman's life and many roles, chronologically backward. I wish there had been some back matter to dive further into those different stages of Harriet's life.
  • Annina Luck
    Great way to tell a story, using all the different names and going backwards! Beautiful illustrations.
  • Amanda
    I love how this travels backwards to tell Harriet's story; the illustrations are gorgeous; and this reads like poetry.
  • Steph
    So awesome!!!
  • Carrie
    Darn right.This is a great piece of art and a great summary of her incredible acts. The last page has a "and this is why we do this" satisfaction to it.
  • Lisa
    This a wonderful biographical picture book about Harriet Tubman. The illustrations are amazing and so is the text. Highly Recommended.
  • Earl
    As I told a librarian waffling whether to get this or not since they already have multiple books about Harriet Tubman, "It really is a wonderful read, the way they tell her story in a way that feels unique and inspiring."
  • Erin
    This beautifully illustrated poetic biography takes you backwards and forwards in the life of Harriet Tubman. Unlike a lot of other books about her, you learn more about her life before she escaped slavery. The watercolors really are fantastic. Good for older kid or preschool storytimes.
  • Alia
    Woo Booooyyy! That was good. Just enough and SO much. Beautiful words and illustrations. Another great book by the Ransomes.
  • Jan Brooks
    Beautifully written juvenile autobiography of Harriet Tubman. Encourages us to see what came first in her story. Gorgeous emotional illustrations. 2018 King Illustrator Honor Book.