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Before She Was Harriet
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Before She Was Harriet

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4.48  ·  Rating details ·  1,333 ratings  ·  376 reviews
All of the beloved characters are back in this ninth mystery starring Sammy Keyes. This time the 13-year-old sleuth is up against a cat burglar - literally! Cats are disappearing and Sammy is finding some of them in neighborhood garbage cans - dead! Miss Kitty, a local psycho cat lady, blames Sammy. Meanwhile, there's something fishy going on with one of the students from ...more
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Published September 30th 2018 by Live Oak Media (NY) (first published November 7th 2017)
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Amy Elementary school age children-especially if they have learned about her. My 2nd graders enjoyed this book.
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Average rating 4.48  · 
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 ·  1,333 ratings  ·  376 reviews


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Mariah Roze
May 30, 2019 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
"A lush and lyrical biography of Harriet Tubman, written in verse and illustrated by an award-winning artist.
We know her today as Harriet Tubman, but in her lifetime she was called by many names. As General Tubman she was a Union spy. As Moses she led hundreds to freedom on the Underground Railroad. As Minty she was a slave whose spirit could not be broken. An evocative poem and opulent watercolors come together to honor a woman of humble origins whose courage and compassion make her larger than
...more
Donalyn
Gorgeous book. I liked the circular nature of the story and the reminder that Harriet Tubman wore many names and roles during her life.
destiny ♡⚔♡ [howling libraries]
Assigned reading for MLIS 7421: Multicultural Youth Literature.

I love children's nonfiction books about important historical figures, because I think it's so important that little ones are taught not only fairytales, but real-life matters and history, too. Harriet is certainly a woman that every children should be taught about and inspired by, and I loved the twist in the sense that this book traces her life backward, before coming full circle 'round to her as a peaceful old woman, basking in
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Barbara
Exquisite watercolor illustrations complement an engaging story that allows readers to look back in time on the life journey of Harriet Tubman. I appreciated how the author chose to begin the story near the end of Tubman's life now that she's "tired and worn / her legs stiff / her back achy" (unpaged) after all that she's been through rather than at the beginning. As she reflects on where she's been, readers learn about the many roles she's played throughout her life, and the various names she ...more
Laura Harrison
Apr 03, 2018 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
One of my favorite books of 2017. I can't believe I forgot to review it last year :(((((
Suzanne
Aug 08, 2017 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
There are plenty of picture book biographies of Harriet Tubman, but the Ransomes have created a beautiful and poetic look at her life. Each time the page turns, another part of her life is named and shown. Old woman, suffragist, General Tubman, Union spy, nurse, Aunt Harriet, Moses, Minty, Araminta...each of those aspects led to the old woman who was "worn and wrinkled and free."

While the beautiful watercolors show details of Harriet's world - horse-drawn buggies, ladies in long skirts and wide
...more
Joan
I did not expect to be impressed by this book. There have been so many books done about Tubman, some of them fairly recently, that were well done, I couldn't see what was left to say at this time. Well, the book proved me wrong. It is told in a reverse kind of "This is the house that Jack Built" poem. It starts with an old lady sitting on a bench likely waiting for a train to arrive and watching other people around her. It begins " Here she sits/ an old woman/ tired and worn/ her legs still/ her ...more
Brenda Kahn
This is more of an impressionistic biography but a beautiful one. Sparely written - are they poems? Only a few words on each line and not many on each page and nary a comma or period in sight. But these few words are evocative. The illustrations are gorgeous and powerful double-page spreads that depict Harriet Tubman at various stages of her life. I found the second-to-last spread especially poignant as this one depicts a freed Harriet boarding a train in one car while white passengers board ...more
Michelle
Harriet Tubman was much more than just the conductor on the underground railroad. This talks about all parts of her life and shows that she was just so much more than the one thing we know her for! I love it.
Alyson (Kid Lit Frenzy)
I loved the text and art in this one. Another good one for a mentor text.
Elizabeth S
Fascinating backwards look through Harriet Tubman's life. Teaches about her life both before and after her famous Underground Railroad days. What an incredible woman.
Emma
Dec 11, 2017 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Fantastic verse-like sparse text and gorgeous illustrations. My only complaint is that it has no author's note or back matter.
Jana
Jun 15, 2018 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
An inspiring story - one I will share with my students this year. Beautifully written.
Claudia
First of all, the poetic storytelling here...with its pattern of "Before she was...she was" is amazing. It takes us back into Harriet Tubman's life from a very old woman, all the way back to the young girl who was born a slave...It reminds us of Cisneros's onion analogy -- how we are all that 9-year-old, and 8-year-old...Harriet was, in her amazing life, a suffragist, a general, a spy, a nurse, an aunt, a conductor named Moses, she was Minty and Araminta and Harriet.

She was a hero.

The
...more
Nikki Ibarra
Before She Was Harriet by Lesa Cline-Ransome
Freedom Song: The Story of Henry "Box" Brown by Sally M. Walker

Content area- social studies

Harriet Tubman is about her life and all the roles she played. It describes her roles past what is typically thought of her being the guide for the Underground Railroad. They start from when she is old all the way down to her youth to show how she changed and grew as a person, and how she contributed so greatly to our history.
Freedom song is about a boy who was
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Becky
First sentence: Here she sits/ an old woman/ tired and worn/ her legs stiff/ her back achy/ but before wrinkles formed/ and her eyes failed/ before she reached/ her twilight years/ she could walk for miles/ and see clearly/ under a sky lit only with stars.

Premise/plot: Before She Was Harriet is a picture book biography of Harriet Tubman written in verse. The picture book opens and closes with Harriet as an old woman. The poem looks backwards on her life. Each section begins with "Before she
...more
Maritsa Vazquez
content area: social studies
Fiction Book: Juneteenth for Mazie by Floyd Cooper. Published 2015.

Before She Was Harriet is about Harriet Tubman's life and her different roles during different stages of her life. I chose to pair Before She Was Harriet with Juneteenth for Mazie. The book begins with Mazie being upset at being told no. It's too late to play outside, too close to bedtime to have a cookie, and Mazie is too young to stay up late. Her father begins to tell her about her
...more
Edie
Jul 05, 2017 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
As the author has stated, she presents Harriet as an old woman and then takes us back in time, "erasing the wrinkles" as we learn about her many roles, as a suffragist, a general, a spy, a nurse, a family member, a conductor, a child slave. And always she was a woman of integrity and courage, speaking and acting out, taking care of others. The text is powerful and active with words like readying and always emphasizing the courage and desire for freedom. The illustrations are more than equal to ...more
Mrs. Krajewski
Jan 13, 2019 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Wow. Just, wow. Stunning. Best book about Harriet Tubman I’ve read. She was truly so much more than her name.
Mary Ann
Before she was Harriet Tubman, she was a young girl with the courage and determination to fight against injustices. This powerful, poetic picture book takes readers back in time to look at Tubman's many contributions fighting for freedom. With each page turn, readers are taken further back in Tubman's life. During the Civil War, she was a spy for the Union and a nurse for wounded soldiers. Before all of this, she was a little girl who learned from her father to read the woods, "readying for the ...more
Olivia Birazzi
Apr 21, 2018 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: diverse-lit
The powerfully written, poetic, biography of Harriet Tubman provides the reader with the backwards story of the leader of the Underground Railroad. As each page is turned, the reader learns of a new name and role of Harriet Tubman, ranging from a suffragist, to a general, a union spy, nurse, aunt and finally a conductor. Simple, yet inspiring word choice to engage all readers on the life of Harriet Tubman. Nominee for the Coretta Scott King Illustrator Honor (2018) and NAACP Image Award Nominee ...more
Laura
Jan 05, 2018 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Wonderful and powerful. Beginning with Harriet Tubman as an old woman, this story traces her role as a suffragist, during the Civil War, as a conductor on the Underground Railroad leading others to freedom, and as a slave working the fields in Maryland. The almost lyrical text is simple but powerful, speaking to Harriet Tubman's strength and determination to fight for freedom.

Recommended for grades 4 and 5, students learning about Harriet Tubman will certainly make connections while learning new
...more
Susie
Jan 04, 2018 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
To me, this book nears perfection. I look at Harriet Tubman as one of the most interesting figures in history. It seems to me that many people think of her mainly in relationship to the Underground Railroad, whereas she accomplished much, much more. The "before she was" format was ideal, and flows through the entire story in a cohesive way. I think anyone reading this will have many questions and want to learn more! I applied for a study grant one time to travel several of the places where she ...more
Jason
I started skimming what I thought was "just another" book about Tubman, but found myself going back the beginning to read it all more carefully. The way its written, one role per spread, really helps the reader to think about how full and incredible her life really was. the artwork throws a right for the knockout.
Charlotte Young Bowens
Definitely lyrical and the simple language conveys the story of a very important woman in history. To touch on her childhood and provide a glimpse into the life of Harriet as she became older had a nice effect and illuminati things I hadn't known. A very inspiring book for young people and terrific picture book for young readers, the illustrations were excellent.
Sharon
Feb 27, 2018 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Oh. My. This is a gorgeous book - the prose and the illustrations are just wonderful. Half-way through tears were running down my face as Naomi read about the life of Harriet Tubman, an American Original, an Indomitable Spirit, whose life inspires us to live as we ought - to do what is right and just.


Alexis
Oct 02, 2018 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Y'all. This is so beautifully written - a poem with perfect meter that compels you to read it just right. Just so artfully and thoughtfully created, it's truly a beautiful tribute to a heroine who deserves such care in the telling of her story.
Jesse
What a wonderful starting point for learning about Harriet Tubman! I found myself wanting to find more resources to learn more about each part of her life. The verse was strong and the illustrations beautiful.
MaryLibrarianOH
Both text and illustrations make this book a work of art. I learned new things about Harriet Tubman and was reminded of her bravery. I really hope the Coretta Scott King Committee takes a close look at this one, the Caldecott Committee too.

From the advanced reader copy.
Cassie Cox
Apr 03, 2018 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Last week I was honored to hear Carol Jago read this book at a conference. It's a poetic story about a woman many call a hero. This is the perfect mentor text to jumpstart a piece of writing and thinking, too. I highly recommend it.
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