I Am #6: Harriet Tubman. Written by Grace Norwich. Cover illustration by Mark Fredrickson. Interior illustrations by Ute Simon. Scholastic Inc., 2013. Publisher recommends for ages 8 and older. 127 pages. ISBN: 978054548367.
Harriet Tubman was born into slavery in Maryland in 1821. She escaped to freedom in her late 20s and from then on worked tirelessly to end slavery. She was a conductor on the Underground Railroad, returning over and over again to the south to guide more than 70 slaves to freedom. When slavery ended, she worked for the rights of blacks in the United States, and also for the rights of women.
This book is an excellent introduction to Harriet Tubman. It covers her entire life and does so at a pace fast enough to keep the reader interested. The beginning of the book contains some history of Harriet Tubman’s family, and thus some history of slavery. The details of her many trips on the Underground Railroad increase the fascinating nature of the book.
The pencil illustrations break up the text and add additional information. Boxes contain facts related to Harriet Tubman and freedom and slavery are included. The boxes, though, aren’t so long that they take the reader’s focus away from the text of the book.
The cover illustration is in color and shows a fearless woman reaching out a beckoning hand.
After reading I Am Harriet Tubman, I’d like to know more about this courageous and powerful woman. Several books are listed as possibilities for further reading. The end papers also include a map of the Underground Railroad, a list of 10 things one should know about Harriet Tubman, followed by a list of 10 more interesting facts, a glossary and index.
The quality of the binding isn’t great. I suspect it will fall apart after three or four readings in a school library. This isn’t a reason not to buy the book, but it may be a reason to buy multiple copies.
Although the title of the book implies the book is written in first person, it’s actually written in third person, with a three page first person spread in the very beginning.
Harriet Tubman’s primary work wasn’t as a politician, but through her civil disobedience she helped to bring about political change.