My eight-year-old daughter discovered Yona Zeldis McDonough’s Who Was Harriet Tubman? while sifting through the books handed down to her from our generous teen neighbor. She was excited to make this find because she had already read McDonough’s Who Was Rosa Parks? at school. Her passionate recommendation regarding this series was, “It’s not like you don’t want to read these books,” said in a hurried speech. Hey, this more than works for me.
My daughter allowed me to read Who Was Harriet Tubman? first because she is currently reading Janet B. Pascal’s Who Was Abraham Lincoln?. I read Who Was Harriet Tubman? in one sitting; it was that good.
Not only did I learn crucial biographical facts, but I also heard Tubman’s voice through key quotes. When finally a free woman, Tubman declared, “‘I looked at my hands to see if I was the same person now that I was free. There was such a glory over everything, the sun came like gold through the trees and over the fields and I felt like I was in heaven’” (45). As a spy in the Union army, Tubman concluded, “”I made up my mind [that] I would never wear a long dress on another expedition . . . but would have a bloomer as soon as I could get it’” (82). My kind of lady . . .
With illustrations by Nancy Harrison which further reinforce Tubman’s story, this is an ideal book for even the reluctant reader.
My next assigned reading [from my third-grader] is What Is the Statue of Liberty? by Joan Holub. I am looking forward to uncovering what all I had failed to learn or simply forgotten since my time in third grade.