Monday, January 19, 2015

Chasing Freedom (2015)

Chasing Freedom: The Life Journeys of Harriet Tubman and Susan B. Anthony Inspired by Historical Facts. Nikki Grimes. Illustrated by Michele Wood. 2015. [January 2015] Scholastic. 56 pages. [Source: Review copy]

First sentence: It is 1904, a year in which the 28th Annual Convention of the New York State Suffrage Association met in Rochester, New York. On this occasion, Susan B. Anthony will introduce the guest speaker, the legendary Harriet Tubman. 

Historical fiction based on a what-if, the what-if being "What if Harriet Tubman and Susan B. Anthony sat down over tea to reminisce about their extraordinary lives?" While the two women certainly met--at the very least twice since they spoke at the same conferences--there is no evidence that these two were friends or good friends who would sit down and spend an hour or two in conversation sharing their lives over cups of tea.

The whole book is a dialogue between the two women taking place in 1904. Their life stories are told alternately. This worked some of the time. Other times I felt the two were not so much connecting and sharing so much as talking AT one another. Susan being so focused on telling details of her life and Harriet being so focused on telling details from her life that the two were just being polite waiting for their turn to steer the conversation back to themselves. Not every page reads that way, of course. But it sometimes did. One thing that both women seemed to have in common is an admiration almost an idolization of John Brown.

For those interested in learning the basics about these two women, this book is certainly an interesting place to start. While it is fiction, the stories they are telling are based on facts. Readers will learn a handful of things about each woman and the significance of both women in history.

I liked the layout of this one. On one side, readers get text. On the other side, readers see lovely illustrations. I loved the illustrations!!! 

© 2015 Becky Laney of Becky's Book Reviews

1 comment:

ChaosIsAFriendOfMine said...

This sounds like an interesting method to tell the story. The cover looks great, I'm sure the rest of the illustrations are great too.