Monday, February 26, 2018

Before She Was Harriet

Before She Was Harriet. Lesa Cline-Ransome. Illustrated by James Ransome. 2017. [November] Holiday House. 32 pages. [Source: Library]

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..." For example,
  • Before she was an old woman/ she was a suffragist/
  • Before she was a suffragist/ she was General Tubman/
  • Before she was General Tubman/ she was a Union spy/
The poem packs in a lot of information while remaining very much a poem. It is beautiful!

My thoughts: I enjoyed this one very much! I loved the writing. I loved the illustrations. This picture book was honored with a Coretta Scott King Illustrator Honor. I must admit that I loved the text even more than the illustrations. But both are great.

The narrative is so beautiful!

Text: 5 out of 5
Illustrations: 4 out of 5
Total: 9 out of 10


© 2018 Becky Laney of Becky's Book Reviews

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I am interested in reviewing books and audio books. This blog focuses on books written for middle grade on up (essentially 10 to a 110). I review middle grade fiction and young adult fiction (aka tween and teen).

I also review adult books.

I read in a variety of genres including realistic fiction, historical fiction, mystery, romance, science fiction, fantasy, literary fiction, and chick lit. (I've read one western to date.)

I read a few poetry books, a few short story collections, a few graphic novels, a few nonfiction books.

I am especially fond of:

  • Regency romances (including Austen prequels/sequels)
  • Historical fiction set in the Tudor dynasty
  • Historical fiction and nonfiction set during World War II
  • Jewish fiction/nonfiction
  • dystopias
  • apocalyptic fiction
  • science fiction (especially if it involves time travel and alternate realities)
  • fantasy
  • multicultural books and international books

I am not a fan of:

  • sports books
  • horse books
  • dog books if the dog dies (same goes with most pets actually except maybe fish)
  • westerns (if it's a pioneer story with women and children, then maybe)
  • extremely violent books with blood, blood, and more blood

I am more interested in strong characters, well-written, fleshed-out, human characters. Plot is secondary to me in a way. I have to care about the characters in order to care about the plot. That being said, compelling storytelling is something that I love. I love to become absorbed in what I'm reading.

If you're interested in sending me a review copy of your book, I'm happy to hear from you. Email me at laney_po AT yahoo DOT com.

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