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Portrait of an American hero

In this meaningful book that introduces young readers to a hero of the Christian faith, James E. Ransome’s exquisite water color paintings and Lesa Cline-Ransome’s poetic text portray contrasting realities and emotions: sorrow and joy; degradation and dignity; and despair and hope.

Portrait of an American hero

Before She Was Harriet Lesa Cline-Ransome Illustrated by James E. Ransome Holiday House, 2017

Who was Harriet Tubman? Many children know her as a conductor on the Underground Railroad. In this moving picture book, children will encounter Harriet at different stages in her life with various names as she played diverse roles. In each stage, she suffered hardship, fought injustice, and trusted in God.

What were some of Harriet Tubman’s names and roles? Named Araminta at birth, and later nicknamed Minty, she learned how to read the woods and stars even as she was enslaved, forced to work in the fields and physically abused. Yet her spirit wasn’t broken. When Minty became a conductor on the Underground Railroad, she was called Moses as she led her people to the Promised Land – Canada.

Later, known as Aunt Harriet, she brought her parents to Canada and helped them settle there. During the American Civil War, she served as a nurse and Union spy. As she freed slaves during the war, she became known as General Tubman because of her stealth and courage in the face of rebel fighters. After the war, she became a suffragist, fighting for women who had no rights. After years of service to her Lord and her people, Harriet Tubman grew to old age, free and filled with dignity.

In this meaningful book that introduces young readers to a hero of the Christian faith, James E. Ransome’s exquisite water color paintings and Lesa Cline-Ransome’s poetic text portray contrasting realities and emotions: sorrow and joy; degradation and dignity; and despair and hope. 

About the Author
Portrait of an American hero

Sonya VanderVeen Feddema, Freelance writer

Sonya VanderVeen Feddema is a freelance writer living in St Catharines, Ont.