She Persisted: Harriet Tubman

Philomel. (She Persisted). Jan. 2021. 80p. Tr $14.99. ISBN 9780593115657; pap. $5.99. ISBN 9780593115664.
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.

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