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So Tall Within: Sojourner Truth's Long Walk Toward Freedom
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So Tall Within: Sojourner Truth's Long Walk Toward Freedom

4.47  ·  Rating details ·  353 ratings  ·  93 reviews
From celebrated author Gary D. Schmidt comes a picture book biography of a giant in the struggle for civil rights, perfectly pitched for readers today.

Sojourner Truth was born into slavery but possessed a mind and a vision that knew no bounds. So Tall Within traces her life from her painful childhood through her remarkable emancipation to her incredible leadership in the m
Hardcover, 48 pages
Published September 25th 2018 by Roaring Brook Press
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4.47  · 
Rating details
 ·  353 ratings  ·  93 reviews

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Jon(athan) Nakapalau
The story of Sojourner Truth is the story of a great American hero who forced society to live up to the promises that were so often made - but not kept. Relevant today (more than ever) and will be even more relevant in years to come - the art is beautiful.
An incredible story, told in a way that is accessible--truly--to all ages. Excellent backmatter and additional sources as well.
Her biography is absolutely breathtaking artwork combined with a thoughtful sentence interspersed throughout a lengthier picture book biography that educates those that don't know how influential she was as a "first female", one that made a tremendous impact and was listed in Smithsonian magazine's top 100. Again, it's the illustrations that bring this book to a five but the ruminations that Schmidt brings to readers about a woman who brought out her strength throughout her life to be "so tall w ...more
Sep 28, 2018 rated it it was amazing
A picture book on slavery and the life of Sojourner Truth. This was fantastic - in true Gary Schmidt form - it is full of thoughtful lines, tender reminiscing, and truth. What a fantastic story to share with our young readers.
Lynn Plourde
Nov 17, 2018 rated it it was amazing
Poetic, powerful, Caldecott worthy.
Paul  Hankins
Schmidt's back matter in this book is an example of how another book featuring Sojourner Truth can be part of a "gate fold experience" as he presents other texts that feature this heroic black figure. Minter's weaving of a modern day parallels in verse and visual add an important layer to the overall feel and message of the book bridging past and present within the pages.
Michele Knott
The poetic format of this story will stick with me longer than the words from any history text. Prepare to spend time lingering over the details in the illustrations.
Oct 29, 2018 rated it it was amazing
I gave another book five stars just before reading this one, and had to go back to change it to four because it did not come close to this one. History, but also poetry and amazing illustrations.
Dee Dee G
Jun 21, 2019 rated it it was amazing
This is a very short book for young readers. Even though it’s short it’s a good introduction and they can read more about her as the grow older. Sad, inspiring and informative.
Richie Partington
Richie’s Picks: SO TALL WITHIN: SOJOURNER TRUTH’S LONG WALK TOWARD FREEDOM by Gary D. Schmidt and Daniel Minter, ill., Roaring Brook, September 2018, 48p., ISBN: 978-1-62672-872-1

“In Slavery Time, when Hope was a seed waiting to be planted, Isabella lived in a cellar where the windows never let the sun in and the floorboards never kept the water out. She had ten or twelve brothers and sisters--she couldn’t be sure, since almost all of them were sold as slaves before she was old enough to remembe
Oct 20, 2018 rated it it was amazing
This is as much a refection on character as biography. The sense of who this woman was and her deep inner courage are what readers will take away from this stunning book. Daniel Minter's gorgeous and moving illustrations are outstanding.

Schmidt does a wonderful job of incorporating Sojourner Truth's words into the book and his Author's Note and Bibliography are outstanding.
Stunning. So much more than a standard, picture book biography. I will hold this up for both Newbery and Caldecott.
Jul 18, 2018 rated it really liked it
How Isabella Baumfree, born into slavery in New York State during the last years of the 18th century became one of the most outspoken and influential people in American history and acquired the name Sojourner Truth. Schmidt’s biography and Minter’s powerful illustrations emphasizes her experience as a slave and the emotional toll that slavery in the United States took from its victims. And it also tells of her stubborn resistance to accept it, and her use of the legal system and her own persiste ...more
Renee Weasley
Beautiful, poetic, and empowering. Everyone should read this.
Annette Vellenga
Jun 19, 2018 rated it really liked it
Written by Gary D. Schmidt, So Tall Within walks us through the life of Sojourner Truth on her way to freedom and living as an adult with a mission... freedom for slaves. I loved the set up of this lovely picture book, which is geared toward children 4-8 years old. The vignettes that opened each chapter spoke truth about what slavery was and did to the people trapped within that way of living. This opening page set the tone for the rest of the book, showing the promise within the hardship. I jus ...more
Nov 26, 2018 rated it it was amazing
Isabella grew up in slavery, sold away from her mother when she was nine. She did hard labor for years, sometimes with no shoes in the winter and other times with no sleep at night because of the work expected of her. One year after she had been forced to marry a man and had five children, she was promised her freedom. But freedom didn’t come and so she escaped with her baby. She arrived at the home of two kind people, who stood by her in her escape and paid for the freedom of Isabella and her b ...more
Daring to dream of a better life, taking action to gain her own freedom, and speaking out for her rights and the rights of others are only a few of the reasons that the name of Sojourner Truth should be known to today's students of history. Born into slavery in New York as Isabella Baumfree, this amazing woman would later rename herself Sojourner Truth and walk many miles in her determination to share the truth about the rights of women and former slaves. The repetition of the notion that she "f ...more
Laura Giessler
Wow. What a gorgeous book about a giant of a woman! What would it have been like to live at the time when this woman walked this land, speaking her truth? It is mind-boggling that in the 1800s, in addition to speaking out against slavery and the ways she had been personally violated, she spoke about a woman's right to vote, the need for prison reform, the evils of capital punishment. Here we are in the 21st Century, still fighting these battles! How long, O Lord?? The text and illustrations are ...more
Craig Wiesner
Sep 25, 2018 rated it it was amazing
How do you stand tall when life keeps knocking you down? Sojourner Truth somehow stood taller and taller no matter how much harder her life in slavery was, and she was of course tallest when she grabbed her freedom and began the long trek of telling her story, demanding justice for all whom she saw oppressed.

This is a beautifully, powerfully illustrated story told in poetry, about a girl named Isabella, who at a very young age was taken away from her mother, sold to another slave-owner, and ano

First the metaphors: "In Slavery Time when Hope was a seed waiting to be planted..." combined with symbolic illustrations, create a sort of poetic narrative. If followed, just those pages of metaphors could inspire rich conversations and could be used as mentor texts for students to write their own.

And then the story...often told in Sojourner Truth's own words...The title itself is a quote.

And then the rest of the illustrations...Strong, like Sojourner. Tall. Driven. And you must
Emma (Miss Print)
May 08, 2018 rated it it was amazing
This book is absolutely gorgeous and I hope it wins all of the awards and gets all of the stars. Schmidt's prose is lyrical but also pulls no punches as he describes Sojourner Truth's early life and chronicles her journey from being born in slavery to becoming one of the most important figures in American history. Minter is working in a new style here and the artwork is stunning and paints difficult scenes with gentleness and strength. The book includes a selected bibliography from Schmidt, a no ...more
Nov 27, 2018 rated it it was amazing
This is a prime example of what a picture book can be. So much of the story is told through these superb pictures. I swear, the woman grew taller as the story proceeded. Within those historic pictures is strong truth. Beautifully rendered, a few conveyed the sense of all the others Isabella was fighting for.
The format, using time divisions--"In Slave Time," and "In Freedom Times," all used impressions to give a context.
Powerful! One of the best of the year.
Nov 17, 2018 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: jp2018
The illustrations are emotive and beautiful. Take your time with this one, and let each page hold you for a moment.

I appreciated the biographical note, bibliography, and artist’s note at the end. After reading the artist’s note, I had to go back and look at some illustrations again. My heart aches, knowing we still have a long, long way to go.
Mar 02, 2019 rated it it was amazing
The language here is so beautiful, but it tells the story of slavery without being graphic and without flinching from the truth. The illustrations were perfect for the poetry, tone, and the time of the story. This is a great way to introduce children to Sojourner Truth.
Oct 31, 2018 rated it really liked it
Nice biographical story of Sojourner Truth, her childhood, and her life's mission.
Has excellent historical, bibliographical and artist notes that touch on historiography and present day context in a meaningful and accessible way.
Nov 26, 2018 rated it it was amazing
What a beautiful book teaching our kids about a beautiful woman.
Alyson (Kid Lit Frenzy)
The illustrations in this book are gorgeous. And the text is powerful.
Nov 01, 2018 rated it really liked it
The story of Sojourner Truth from childhood through her powerful years of speaking out for freedom.
Gorgeous illustrations support the text.
Raven Black
Oct 27, 2018 rated it liked it
Illustrations grand. The side poem powerful. Main story smidgen choppy.

AFTER THE second read: And while I still feel the story is choppy, and the side poem fantastic, I enjoyed it more the second time. And still am amazingly in love with the illustrations.
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Gary D. Schmidt is an American children's writer of nonfiction books and young adult novels, including two Newbery Honor books. He lives on a farm in Alto, Michigan,with his wife and six children, where he splits wood, plants gardens, writes, feeds the wild cats that drop by and wishes that sometimes the sea breeze came that far inland. He is a Professor of English at Calvin College.