|Author: Yona Zeldis McDonough|
Illustrated: Nancy Harrison
This book includes the history of Harriet Tubman's life, but also includes information on the history of slavery, and other famous abolitionists like Frederick Douglass. Two views of a slave ship showing how the slaves were stacked in a small space to cross the Atlantic Ocean are included. The exposure to this type of information should make students more aware of the sufferings of others and more empathetic to the sufferings endured by others. Students are also taught that families were torn apart by slave owners who sold family members. I think students would be able to relate to this because our families are so important to us and even though we have to be apart from our families at times, most of us are able to reunite with them eventually.
Harriet learned how to escape to freedom and became a conductor in the Underground Railroad. She learned about rivers, when to travel, and who she could trust. She helped slaves escape from the south to the north, all the way to Canada. She lead over 300 slaves to freedom.
I like to use the opportunity to teach about Harriet Tubman when I am teaching about biographies. We mostly learn about men when we learn history so this is one of the few opportunities where we can teach the children about a heroic woman who put others first and had a great impact on the history of many slaves.
The illustrations in the book are simple and they seem to be pencil drawings. The role of the pictures was to visually represent the text, the pictures did not really add to the biography. I wish the pictures were more detailed or life-like so that students could better understand how horrible this time was for the slaves. Despite the pictures, a student unfamiliar with Harriet Tubman would find her story inspirational and fascinating.
This book is written for girls and boys and is definitely at the 3rd grade level. It is appropriate for providing information about a specific time in history and about the history of an amazing woman. I believe that third graders, especially third grade girls, would be interested in learning more about this topic after reading this book as an introduction to Harriet Tubman.
Check this book out from the library.
Visit Frederick Douglass's home!