I don’t know how I missed the memo that Chelsea Clinton and a team of authors have released a series called She Persisted. This series is about inspiring women in history. I checked out an ebook of She Persisted: Harriet Tubman from my library and read it in half an hour or so. This young reader biography taught me a lot about this awesome woman.

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The summary, from Amazon:

Inspired by the #1 New York Times bestseller She Persisted by Chelsea Clinton and Alexandra Boiger comes a chapter book series about women who stood up, spoke up and rose up against the odds!

Born enslaved, Harriet Tubman rose up to become one of the most successful, determined and well-known conductors of the Underground Railroad. With her family’s love planted firmly in her heart, Harriet looked to the North Star for guidance–and its light helped guide her way out of slavery. Her courage made it possible for her to help others reach freedom too.

In this chapter book biography by bestselling and award-winning author Andrea Davis Pinkney, readers learn about the amazing life of Harriet Tubman–and how she persisted. Complete with an introduction from Chelsea Clinton!

Praise for She Persisted: Harriet Tubman:

* “This chapter-book biography humanizes [Tubman] and brings her to life . . . Pinkney and Flint have created a standout series opener.” —Kirkus Reviews, *STARRED REVIEW*

“The story-like text moves along at a brisk pace, relating anecdotes that will appeal to young readers . . . and the simple line drawings that appear every few pages add nuance.” —Booklist

“This engaging biography is a quick but informative read and well-matched for the intended audience.” —School Library Journal

Buy She Persisted: Harriet Tubman here.
And don’t miss the rest of the She Persisted series.

I genuinely learned a lot from this young reader biography about Harriet Tubman. For example, I had no idea that Harriet’s full name was Harriet Araminta and that she went by Minty as a child. It wasn’t until she was married to her first husband that she decided to change her name to Harriet to honor her mother, whom she was named after. I appreciated that the portion of this book dealing with her early life referred to her as Minty.

While I knew Harriet Tubman not only escaped slavery, but helped others travel the Underground Railroad AND served as a nurse and spy during the Civil War, there was so much I did not know about her. For example, I did not know about a head injury she sustained when she attempted to escape as a child. She had complications from this injury for the rest of her life that could cause her to fall asleep for minutes to days at any given time. I also did know that after the Civil War, Harriet applied to receive compensation for her work during the war. She was rejected time and time again. Finally, I didn’t know that she married twice – first, while she was enslaved, to a free man who abused her and didn’t want her to be free, and then to a Civil War veteran.

I appreciated so much about this book. The author draws a clear line that slave owners were bad people and includes many of the awful things they did to the enslaved folks they treated as property. For example, as a child I did not know slave owners rented enslaved people out, and would have learned that from this book. It makes clear that life in the north was still unjust for Black folks and that the Emancipation Proclamation did not free everyone. I do wish it included that though by the end of the Civil War, slavery was legally ended, many folks still were enslaved for years to come.

Finally, the author includes a list of “How You Can Persist” in honor of Harriet Tubman as backmatter. I enjoyed this addition. Overall, this was an empowering, educational read with cute illustrations that kids will enjoy. I give it 4 stars.

Find out more about how I rate books here.

She Persisted: Harriet TubmanShe Persisted: Harriet Tubman by Andrea Davis Pinkney
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

This is a solid young reader biography about Harriet Tubman. I learned many things I did not know about her. For instance, her childhood nickname was Minty and she did not start using the name Harriet until her first marriage. There’s plenty of good information in this book, and the images are cute.

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Book Club Questions

  1. What did you learn about Harriet Tubman from this book?
  2. Why do you think Harriet Tubman’s first husband did not want her to be free like him?
  3. Which values and characteristics of Harriet Tubman do you most respect?
  4. How can you persist in honor of Harriet Tubman?
  5. Did this book make you want to learn anything else about Harriet Tubman or the time she lived in? What else do you want to learn? How can you find out this information?


Interested? Buy She Persisted: Harriet Tubman.
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