Marie's Reviews > Moses: When Harriet Tubman Led Her People to Freedom

Moses by Carole Boston Weatherford
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Feb 27, 12

bookshelves: african-american, historical-fic, picture-books
Read from February 23 to 27, 2012

Review was completed with the hardcover 2006 edition.

Even the title, Moses; When Harriet Tubman Led her People to Freedom causes the reader to pause and think of an extraordinary person empowered by his or her belief in God. This historic fictional picture book, written by Carole Boston Weatherford and illustrated by Kadir Nelson conveys Harriet Tubman’s struggle to free as many African American slaves as possible. We have read many stories about Harriet Tubman before but this one has a new twist. The author brings to life the incredible faith and trust Harriet had in God to guide her to safety and this story doesn’t disappoint.

The text is lyrical and poetic in third person narrative and dialogue between Harriet and God (in different typeset).
“Lord, I’m going to hold steady on to You.”
And God whispers back in the breeze,
“I’m going to see you through, child.”

It has her conversation with God that brings her to freedom and greatness. She is free but misses her family so she returns to guide them even though she risks once again becoming enslaved. She returns nineteen more times to the south to free more than 300 slaves. The simple text works well with the beautiful illustrations. The reader can see how Nelson would win the Coretta Scott Award. With muted earthy blues and browns Nelson’s illustrations becomes an additional character all on its own.

The age range for this text is 5-8 years (determined on the front flap) and the Lexile level is 660 (according to Novelist Plus). The foreword blurb and author’s note at the end give needed background information for the young reader. This would be an excellent read aloud for K-3. Older children 5th grade and up might be able to write a poem from the point of the view of one of the slaves traveling with Harriet as she brings them to freedom.
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Comments (showing 1-3 of 3) (3 new)

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L12 VANESSA PEOPLESMARTIN Marie, after reading your wonderful review of this book, it made me want to read it right away, in which I did. I had the book already in my possession because I'm presenting next weeks author/illustrator Kadir Nelson. I think that this book can be used for all grades because of the beautiful illustrations and simple words. Do you agree that the book will bring lots of student engagement for all ages?


Marie Vanessa,
Yes, it could be used in multiple age groups. I am glad to hear you are giving a presentation on Kadir Nelson. I am such a fan of his talent (and he is so handsome too)!! I look forward to you presentation.


message 3: by 529_Cristina (new)

529_Cristina Hi Marie,

Great review!I often wonder how authors who write about historical figures of Harriet Tubman's magnitude feel about taking on the task of telling their story. Your review made me connect to a novel I read this week, Copper Sun by Sharon Draper. Draper takes on the huge task of writing about slavery as well; however, in this text, she writes from the perspective of a 15 year old African girl. The way you describe Tubman's voice reminds me of Amari's voice in Copper Sun because she is always questioning herself about her purpose and her "spirit" that others say will bring her to freedom. The theme of "human resilience and spirit" is clearly reflected in both texts. Thanks for sharing!


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