by Anne Rockwell. Illustrated by Christie, R. Gregory. (Knopf, 2001. ISBN 044041766X. Order Info.) Picture Book, Nonfiction. 36 pages. Grades 3-12.
The text is dramatic and gives information about slavery in the northern United States in the early 1800's because, of course, that's where the slave Isabelle, later to rename herself as Sojourner Truth, lived her long and inspiring life.
The book covers her early years when she was beaten and sold repeatedly including at a slave auction in Kingston, New York. After being denied the freedom promised her she escapes and later has her permanent freedom bought. We follow her through her travels as an advocate for civil rights with an author's note telling us more about her life and work.
The illustrations are remarkable. They are bold and stylized figures with large heads and exaggerated features, there's a passion to them that makes them perfect companions to the dramatic text. R. Gregory Christie won the Coretta Scott King Honor for his illustrations in The Palm of My Heart. This is a picture book that you can use as low as third grade but don't let your high school students miss it either.
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