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Harriet Tubman (Volume 13) (Little People,…

Harriet Tubman (Volume 13) (Little People, BIG DREAMS, 13) (edition 2018)

by Maria Isabel Sanchez Vegara (Author)

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New in the Little People, Big Dreams series, discover the incredible life of Harriet Tubman, the Underground Railroad conductor who 'never lost a single passenger' in this true story of her life.
Title:Harriet Tubman (Volume 13) (Little People, BIG DREAMS, 13)
Authors:Maria Isabel Sanchez Vegara (Author)
Info:Frances Lincoln Children's Books (2018), Edition: New, 32 pages
Collections:Your library

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Harriet: My First Harriet Tubman by Maria Isabel Sanchez Vegara


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English (5)  Spanish (1)  All languages (6)
Showing 5 of 5
Note: I received a digital review copy from the publisher through NetGalley. ( )
  fernandie | Sep 15, 2022 |
Vegara's Harriet Tubman takes a look at one of the Civil War era's greatest heroines. Born into a life of slavery, Tubman grew up into a hardened, determined woman. Escaping to freedom along a network known as the Underground Railroad, Tubman made it her mission to free as many slaves as she could. It was a dangerous job, and she went back into the jaws of the lion many times, bringing others to freedom. The end of the book contains a more detailed look at Tubman's life, using language suited for much older readers. Perfect for libraries, and classroom learning. I read this with my cubs. We love this series! Highly recommended!

***Many thanks to the Netgalley & Quarto Publishing for providing an egalley in exchange for a fair and honest review. ( )
  PardaMustang | Mar 13, 2020 |
I am becoming a huge fan of the "Little People, Big Dreams" series. There are so many great people, but many biographies go unread. This series peaks the interest of young readers with basic, simple facts about the person with the hope that they will do further investigation on their own.

Harriet Tubman was born into slavery and always wanted a different life. Her family situation is shared in a simple, delicate way including her siblings being sold, being beat regularly and sustaining a lifelong injury. It is told with historical context as well as having a timeline at the back of the book. the illustrations are large and vibrant and add much to the text.

I think this is a good series and book to be in any school library. It shows children that you can make a difference if you believe in something and do whatever you can to change things that are wrong. I also like that these books can be used with older students to help them decide who they would like to learn more about. A Social Justice project could be inspired by these books. The publisher generously provided me with a copy of this book via Netgalley. ( )
  Carlathelibrarian | Feb 5, 2019 |
When I was growing up the most you learned about Harriet Tubman was that she ran the Underground Railroad and helped to free the slaves. Many of the historical facts in this book I had never heard until just a few years ago. The story starts with Harriet’s real name Minty, and ends with her work as a Civil War spy, and freedom fighter. This is a great way to introduce children to a great lady. ( )
  LibrarianRyan | Jul 9, 2018 |
Rating 2.5

This biographical narrative for children about Harriet Tubman, the great African American Underground Railroad “conductor”, who led hundreds of slaves to freedom is a new offering in the Little People, Big Dreams series. As the series’ title suggests, this picture book makes a point—right from the start—of presenting Harriet (known as Minty in childhood) as a little person already aspiring to a great enterprise. While the rest of her family sleeps, she stands at the window: awake and dreaming of a life away from the plantation, gazing at the North Star that will eventually light her way north to freedom. In thirty sentences total, author Isabel Sanchez Vegara outlines some key events in Tubman’s life: the selling of her three sisters and the frequent beatings she endured in childhood; her being hit on the head when she tried to assist a slave [an event that apparently occurred in her teens]; her brave escape to Philadelphia where she met up with people committed to ending slavery, and her subsequent journeys south (19 times in eleven years) to guide other slaves to freedom; her work as nurse, spy, and military leader during the Civil War, and, finally, in later life, her speaking publicly about women’s rights.

Given the book’s remarkable, legendary, and iconic subject, Vegara provides a pretty bland telling. There are already dozens of books out there on Tubman, and I don’t think this new one offers anything fresh or special to young children. The more violent aspects of Harriet’s story have, not surprisingly, been considerably toned down. However, I believe that in over-sanitizing Tubman’s biography for a young audience, important opportunities have been missed. Regarding a particularly critical event in Harriet’s life, the author writes—in the passive voice: “One morning, while protecting a slave who was trying to escape his overseer, she was hit on the head.” Which begs the question: by whom? The perpetrator of the violence is more or less left out. The fact is: an irate slave owner THREW a heavy metal weight at her, leaving a dent in her skull. Reports suggest that she was comatose for some time, appeared to subsequently suffer from temporal lobe epilepsy and violent headaches, and was frequently overcome by periods of excessive sleepiness. While I don’t see even the watered-down contents of this book being appropriate for kindergarten and grade-one students (five and six year olds), my experience with seven-and-eight-year-old children tells me that they are capable of handling a more direct and truthful telling of Harriet’s experience with an angry white man—presented in the active voice. The fact that Harriet was so committed to the idea of freedom and accomplished so much in spite of her injuries at the hands of another should have been seized as a further source of inspiration to kids.

I also have pretty mixed feelings about the illustrations in this book, which have apparently been created with a mix of ink, marker, and digital techniques. The artist Pili Aguado’s colours are bold, and the style is naïve, childish, and folk-arty, so rules of proportion and perspective aren’t always observed. I don’t have a big problem with that (and I quite like some of the outdoor scenes the artist has rendered), but the lack of historical accuracy bugs me. When we first see Harriet and her (sleeping) family, the setting looks remarkably contemporary. Her parents and siblings, who appear to be dressed in jersey pyjamas, lie under colourful print quilts in a brightly painted room. Harriet’s mother seems to be wearing lipstick, and some members of the family, including Harriet, have noses that resemble those of koala bears. Later in the book, nineteenth-century river (paddle) boats resemble ocean liners (think: the Titanic). The male characters are often dressed entirely in black and resemble modern stage hands (set changers). Then there’s the problem of Harriet looking exactly the same—i.e., like a child—throughout. An image near the end of the book—of Tubman on a twenty-dollar bill—is also problematic. Announced in 2016, the US treasury project of replacing an image of slave-owner, Andrew Jackson, (who, by the way, is also known for his cruel policies towards Native Americans) with one of a slave-liberator, Harriet Tubman, is apparently on the back burner until at least 2026. (The original plan was to have the bills in circulation by 2020). The current Treasury Secretary, Steven Mnuchin, has done nothing but prevaricate about the matter for the last year or so, possibly because his boss is such a great admirer of Andrew Jackson. (Jackson’s portrait presently holds a place of honour in the Oval Office.)

While I understand Isabel Sanchez Vegara’s interest in providing young children with stories of brave and inspirational female figures, I’m not impressed with what I see here—the first book that I have encountered in the series. The thinness of the narrative and the lack of historical accuracy in the accompanying art by Pili Aguado make me conclude that it’s not a bad idea to give this one a pass.

Thank you to Netgalley and the publisher for providing me with a digital copy of this book for review purposes. ( )
  fountainoverflows | May 16, 2018 |
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New in the Little People, Big Dreams series, discover the incredible life of Harriet Tubman, the Underground Railroad conductor who 'never lost a single passenger' in this true story of her life.

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