Synopses & Reviews
We know Harriet Tubman as the Moses of her people. The quintessential American hero, Tubman guided enslaved Africans along the Underground Railroad a loose network of racially diverse helpers and top secret hideouts from bondage of the South to freedom in North.
Yet little is known about Harriet's first trip. Born into slavery, how did she become free? What was her first trip North like? And what inspired her to make nineteen more trips escorting hundreds of slaves, including her own parents, to freedom? Never once getting caught. Never once losing a passenger.
In this elegy to Tubman, award-winning author Carole Boston Weatherford and star illustrator Kadir Nelson imagine all of this and more.
Weatherford's poetic narrative and Kadir Nelson's magnificent paintings bear witness to an ecstatic event the Spirit of God communing with the flesh-and-blood of true humanity. It is one of the most emotional, inspiring reading experiences ever.
"In this gorgeous, poetic picture book, Weatherford (The Sound that Jazz Makes) depicts Harriet Tubman's initial escape from slavery and her mission to lead others to freedom as divinely inspired, and achieved by steadfast faith and prayer. The author frames the text as an ongoing dialogue between Tubman and God, inserting narration to move the action along. On the eve of her being sold and torn from her family, Tubman prays in her despair. In response, 'God speaks in a whip-poor-will's song. 'I set the North Star in the heavens and I mean for you to be free.' ' The twinkling star encourages Tubman: 'My mind is made up. Tomorrow, I flee.' The book's elegant design clearly delineates these elements Harriet's words in italic, God's calming words in all caps drifting across the pages, the narrator's words in roman typeface and makes this read like a wholly engrossing dramatic play. Nelson's (He's Got the Whole World in His Hands) finely rendered oil and watercolor paintings, many set in the rural inky darkness of night, give his protagonist a vibrant, larger-than-life presence, befitting a woman who became known as the Moses of her people. His rugged backdrops and intense portraits convey all the emotion of Tubman's monumental mission. A foreword introduces the concept of slavery for children and an author's note includes a brief biography of Tubman. Ages 5-8. (Sept.)" Publishers Weekly (Starred Review) (Copyright Reed Business Information, Inc.)
"It is a stunning marriage of text and illustrations and a story that should inspire all." Children's Literature
"The words and pictures create a potent sense of the harsh life of slavery, the fearsome escape, and one woman's unwavering belief in God." School Library Journal
"In elegant free verse, Weatherford imagines Tubman's remarkable escape from slavery and her role in guiding hundreds to freedom." Kirkus Reviews
In lyrical text, Weatherford describes Tubman's spiritual journey as she hears the voice of God guiding her North to freedom on that first trip to escape slavery.
This poetic book is a resounding tribute to Tubman's strength, humility, and devotion. With proper reverence, Weatherford and Nelson do justice to the woman who, long ago, earned over and over the name Moses.
About the Author
Carole Boston Weatherford's first act as an author was at six years old, when she dictated a poem to her mother. Today, she is an award-winning author of nineteen books of poetry, nonfiction, and children's literature, including Walker & Company's The Sound That Jazz Makes, winner of the Carter G. Woodsen Award. As a writer, she wants to make sure that kids are always free to pursue their dream, just like Jesse. She resides in High Point, North Carolina, with her husband, Ronald, and their children, Caresse and Jeffery. Visit her Web site at www.caroleweatherford.com.