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Before She Was Harriet
Lesa Cline-Ransome
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Before She Was Harriet (CD)

4.49  ·  Rating details ·  1,049 ratings  ·  318 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
Audio CD
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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4.49  · 
Rating details
 ·  1,049 ratings  ·  318 reviews

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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 th
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 w ...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 :(((((
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
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 ano ...more
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.
Emma (Miss Print)
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.
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.
Alyson (Kid Lit Frenzy)
I loved the text and art in this one. Another good one for a mentor text.
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
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 was.
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 great-great-great
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
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.
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 t ...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
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
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 l ...more
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.

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.
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.
Chance Lee
Dec 08, 2017 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
A non-fiction picture book about Harriet Tubman. The illustrations are very nice, particularly with their smart use of lighting. The text isn't overwhelming and delivers a lot of information in few words.
Mar 08, 2018 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
As I told a librarian waffling whether to get this or not since they already have multiple books about Harriet Tubman, "It really is a wonderful read, the way they tell her story in a way that feels unique and inspiring."
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.
Both illustrations and text are absolutely beautiful. While this is just an introduction to Harriet Tubman and you'll likely want to pair it with other books (or at least a lot of discussion), this is a wonderful biography to introduce this remarkable woman.
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.
This beautifully illustrated poetic biography takes you backwards and forwards in the life of Harriet Tubman. Unlike a lot of other books about her, you learn more about her life before she escaped slavery. The watercolors really are fantastic.

Good for older kid or preschool storytimes.
Amy Nicole
Mar 06, 2018 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
I really really wish there was more information about her experiences as a general, spy, and leader, but there are other books that fulfill that role. This would be a great introduction to Harriet Tubman.

4.5 AR level
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