by Andrea Davis Pinkney
“Harriet’s legacy can still be seen in the Northern Star’s light. She inspired people when she once said, ‘I should fight for my liberty as long as my strength lasted.’ Harriet Tubman persisted by showing the world that the brightest stars can shine forever.”
Ratings & Reviews
Book Grade: A
She Persisted: Harriet Tubman is a wonderful introduction to one of history’s most remarkable women. This version – complete with illustrations throughout the chapters – is certainly geared toward younger readers. There are, however, certainly readers in the secondary grades who might find that this book is right at their reading level.
I appreciated that this book told Harriet’s story and managed to strike the balance between an authentic account of Tubman’s story and an inspirational story to which young readers today can relate. Beginning with Harriet’s life as a child and highlighting the traumatic events which she faced on a regular basis, this book certainly does not dive into the particulars of Tubman’s story. It does, however, serve as a primer of the life of this legend and, in the vein of the She Persisted series, it introduces modern girls to inspirational figures from the past.
Movie Rating: G
She Persisted: Harriet Tubman may bring up difficult concepts – slavery, abuse, and racism – but this is done gently and in a way that starts the conversation rather than assumes readers have knowledge of these difficult topics. There is no swearing, but there is reference to the violence that drove Harriet to seek freedom. This book is intended for younger readers, so that was clearly considered during its writing.
Would I Buy This for My Library: Yes
I realize that this truly is geared toward younger readers, but I think that having a few books like this allows my lower readers to find books that they feel still challenge them. It can be hard for high school special education students to feel that they aren’t reading childish books; because this deals with themes of race, justice, and goes beyond the popular story of the Underground Railroad to cover Harriet’s military service, it feels a bit more sophisticated. I likely wouldn’t purchase the entire series, but having a few of these available to students is a worthwhile investment.
Harriet Tubman’s name has endured for generations because of her strength, fearlessness, and commitment to equality. She Persisted: Harriet Tubman begins with the story of Harriet as a young girl and proceeds to clarify how she came to see heartache, violence, and injustice in her childhood. The book proceeds to follow Harriet into adulthood as she makes decisions that will ensure her a place in history.
With thoughtful attention to detail, but level appropriate information, this book serves as a great introduction to Harriet Tubman and the Underground Railroad.
Book Talk Questions:
- What name was Harriet known by as a child? Why was this special to her?
- Describe Harriet’s childhood. What incidents do you believe led her to seek freedom at all costs?
- Why was Harriet an unlikely hero of the Underground Railroad? What were some of the challenges that she had to overcome?
- Summarize Harriet’s military service. Why did she have to fight in this instance as well?
- Give a specific example from the text that shows Harriet’s strong personality and determination.
A Perfect Read for Fans Of…
- Trailblazers: Simone Biles by Sally J. Morgan
- Never Caught: The Story of Ona Judge by Erica Armstrong Dunbar
- She Came to Slay: The Life and Times of Harriet Tubman by Erica Armstrong Dunbar