Andrea Davis Pinkney, Author
Brian Pinkney, Illustrator
Disney Jump at the Sun Books, 2009, Historical Fiction
Suitable for: Ages 5 and up
Themes: Slave, Abolitionist, Feminist
Opening/Synopsis: “She was big. She was black. She was so beautiful. Her name was Sojourner. Truth be told, she was meant for great things. Meant for speaking. Meant for preaching. Meant for teaching the truth about freedom. Big. Black. Beautiful. True. That was Sojourner.” Sojourner was born a slave in New York in 1797. Her parents named her Belle. She was a valuable slave because she was six feet tall, with size-twelve feet and she was strong and worked hard. She wanted her freedom and ran away. She stumbled upon a Quaker family who were abolitionists. The couple bought her freedom. She believed freedom belonged to everyone. She set out to speak her truth and help others. She changed her name to Sojourner Truth because she intended to spread the word about freedom and the unfair treatment of black people and women. In 1851, she stormed a women’s rights convention in a church Akron, Ohio and smashed the lies that were spoken about women that day. She spoke her truth and marched out of the church.
What I like this book: It shows the strength and determination of a black woman who was born a slave, could not read or write, yet became a very strong voice for freedom and equal rights for women, before the civil war was even fought. She let nothing get in her way. Andrea Davis Pinkney has done a beautiful job of captivating the spirit of this remarkable woman. The text has a unique and wonderful rhythm and evokes a lot of emotion. The illustrations by Brian Pinkney, are spirited, bold and emotive. Together they have created a very memorable picture book that belongs in every school library. Sojourner is a leader for young readers today.
Resources: There are pages of historical information and resources about Sojourner Truth at the end of the book. An abolitionist friend, Olive Gilbert, wrote a book about her in 1850, “The Narrative of Sojourner Truth: A Northern Slave.” There also is a photo of her meeting with President Abraham Lincoln on Oct. 29, 1864. He signed her book. There is a teacher lesson plan for Sojourner Truth with many great activities.
To see a complete listing of all the Perfect Picture Books with resources, please visit author Susanna Leonard Hill’s Perfect Picture Books. Or click on the Perfect Picture Book Fridays badge in the right sidebar.