@Cybils #Kidlit Biography: Before She Was Harriet

Let’s explore some of the fantastic nonfiction children’s books that have been nominated for 2018 Cybils awards.


Today’s picture book biography Before She Was Harriet is from the award-winning husband and wife team of Lesa Cline-Ransome and Coretta Scott King Illustrator, James E. Ransome.

One thing that sets this book apart is it is organized in reverse chronological order. The reader learns about Harriet Tubman in her later years first. The text reveals each of her earlier accomplishments layer by layer until we discover the young girl she once was. It is such a fresh approach and works really well.

Lesa Cline-Ransome’s text is lyrical and spare. It matches her husband’s absolutely gorgeous illustrations perfectly. They are a wonderful combination.

The book is sure to inspire kids to want to learn more about Harriet Tubman. Yet sadly, there is no back matter in the book for them to do so. No timeline, no glossary, no author notes, no suggestions of places for kids to find out more.

Still, Before She Was Harriet is a stand out that is attracting a lot of attention. In fact, I have to take my copy back to the library because someone else has already requested it. You should try to get your hands on a copy today.

Age Range: 4 – 8 years
Publisher: Holiday House (November 7, 2017)
ISBN-10: 0823420477
ISBN-13: 978-0823420476


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