SHE PERSISTED : HARRIET TUBMAN
GENRE: Chapter Book / Biography
PUBLISHER: Philomel Books
RELEASE DATE: January 5, 2021
In this chapter book biography by bestselling and award-winning author Andrea Davis Pinkney, readers learn about the amazing life of Harriet Tubman–and how she persisted.
Born enslaved, Harriet Tubman rose up to become one of the most successful, determined and well-known conductors of the Underground Railroad. With her family’s love planted firmly in her heart, Harriet looked to the North Star for guidance–and its light helped guide her way out of slavery. Her courage made it possible for her to help others reach freedom too.
“The Underground Railroad’s powerful engine of people helping people was like a quiet storm that came through the whispers of generous folks saying, ‘Together we can!'”
When I was in elementary school, the public library in Rockford, Illinois, had a fabulous summer reading program. We didn’t just get points for each book we read – we had so many books in different categories to check off before we got prizes. Like, Caldecott winners, Newbery winners, plays, poetry, mysteries, biographies, etc. And one summer I distinctly remember reading a biography of Harriet Tubman, who quickly became one of my heroes. She remains one to this day, so I was excited to read this She Persisted book about her!
Despite the fact that it’s geared for ages 6-9 (or grades 1-4), I actually learned some things I didn’t already know. For instance, her middle name meant ‘prayer and protection’, and her childhood nickname ‘Minty’ was based on this beautiful name. I also didn’t realize that Harriet spent many years fighting for women’s rights, too. She Persisted: Harriet Tubman honors her story & her legacy well while introducing children to a true role model for courage and persistence.
There’s a lot of great information packed into this little book, but its story-like prose and warm illustrations make it accessible & entertaining to young readers. The author approaches slavery honestly without being graphic. The text doesn’t shy away (in an age-appropriate manner) from the cruelty that went along with being owned by someone else, while also emphasizing that it didn’t affect the enslaved people’s value as human beings “with dignity, self-respect, and intelligence.” Discussions about The Underground Railroad introduce children to the fact that kind people stood up for what was right & helped hide enslaved people who were escaping to freedom – I loved the way the Underground Railroad was presented and hope that learning about it inspires young readers like it did me when I first discovered it on the pages of a book.
Bottom Line: Harriet Tubman continues to be one of my heroes, and Andrea Davis Pinkney’s approach to her biography for elementary aged children even taught me some things too. I really appreciated that Harriet’s faith wasn’t overlooked and that it focuses on more than ‘just’ her work with the Underground Railroad, circling back to the idea that looking at only one aspect of your life does not fully define you – despite how society may want to box you in to a specific label or definition. Gillian Flint’s illustrations are delightful and help bring Harriet to life on the pages. Readers young and old alike will enjoy getting to know more about this brave & determined woman in She Persisted: Harriet Tubman.
(I voluntarily reviewed a complimentary copy of this book which I received from the publisher. All views expressed are only my honest opinion.)
My Rating: 5 stars / fantastic biography!
Andrea Davis Pinkney is the New York Times bestselling and award-winning author of numerous books for children and young adults, and has been recognized by the Coretta Scott King Author Award committee with an honor for Let It Shine: Stories of Black Women Freedom Fighters and a medal for Hand in Hand: Ten Black Men Who Changed America. She is a four-time nominee for the NAACP Image Award. In addition to her work as an author, Ms. Pinkney is a publishing executive. She has been named one of the “25 Most Influential Black Women in Business” by The Network Journal, and is among Children’s Health magazine’s “25 Most Influential People in Our Children’s Lives.” You can follow her on Twitter @AndreaDavisPink.
Gillian Flint (gillianflint.com) is an illustrator who has a passion for painting in watercolors. She has been drawing and creating characters for as long as she can remember. Her work has been published in the USA, the UK and Australia. In her spare time she enjoys reading and gardening at her home in the UK. You can follow her on Instagram @gillianflint_illustration.
While organizing my bookcases in our new home, I amassed a large box of books that were duplicates of what I already had (for a variety of reasons). So I’m giving away a print book of winner’s choice from my stash each month until they run out. You’ll find the giveaway rafflecopter on each post where I’m not already running a giveaway.
(US only. Void where prohibited by law or logistics.)
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What about you? What makes you want to read She Persisted: Harriet Tubman by Andrea Davis Pinkney?