Book Review: Before She Was Harriet

I am kicking off my holiday book review season with tons of fabulous books, but I’m not saving the best for last…This week I bring you the most beautiful book I’ve read all year. Seriously, if you only buy one book for Christmas, buy this book. This book literally gave me goosebumps.

before she was harriet

Before She Was Harriet (2017, Holiday House, Non-Fiction Picture Book)

From the publisher:

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 life.


Before She Was Harriet, written by Lesa Cline-Ransome and illustrated by James E. Ransome, is quite possibly the most moving picture book of the year. The text and illustrations are simply stunning, and weave a powerful, haunting story of Harriet Tubman.

Both educational and beautiful, this is a biography of a figure we have all heard about, but maybe never considered the journey her life took and the influence she had beyond the Underground Railroad. For children and adults, Harriet will leap off the page as a real person and not just a historical figure.

Highly recommended for every reader young and old, but especially for classroom teachers who are studying Harriet Tubman and the Underground Railroad. This story will stay with the reader long after the book is over.

5 stars to guide Minty through the night

Thank you to Holiday House for a copy of this book in exchange for my honest review.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s