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Only Passing Through: The Story of Sojourner Truth Paperback – December 10, 2002
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Born in 1797, and sold three times by the time she was 13 (and beaten many more times), a tall young slave girl named Isabella grew in her determination to fight the evils of slavery and speak for human rights. At the age of 46, having been a free woman for 17 years, Isabella woke from a dream telling her she must travel the country, conveying to people what it meant to be a slave. On that day, Isabella renamed herself.
"It was as though the life she'd known up till then belonged to someone else. A new one was beginning. The old life had become a tale to tell, a story to bring freedom to others. Her old name belonged to her old life. From that day on, she was never called Isabella again. Her name was Sojourner Truth."Anne Rockwell's picture-book biography of the legendary and powerful messenger of civil rights rings with authority and dignity, matched by Gregory Christie's full-page impressionistic paintings featuring Truth's symbolically outsized head and hands, and striking perspectives of both slaves and slave owners. Awash with rich color, Christie's images will linger long with readers, as will Rockwell's description of Sojourner Truth singing in the face of enraged, drunken antiabolitionists. The author includes a historical note and a 19th century timeline for further context. Rockwell is the noted author of more than 100 books for children, and Christie was the recipient of the Coretta Scott King Honor for his illustrations in The Palm of My Heart. (Ages 8 to 12) --Emilie Coulter --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.
From Publishers Weekly
Though writing in the third person, Rockwell (Bumblebee, Bumblebee, Do You Know Me?) here gives Sojourner Truth an authentic, resonant voice. Ably tailoring her account to a young audience, the author opens her story as nine-year-old Isabella is being sold at a slave auction in Kingston, N.Y., in 1806. The narrative follows the heroine through her transformation into "Sojourner Truth," an itinerant preacher against the evils of slavery. After being denied the freedom that her master had promised her in 1826, the young woman escapes to the home of a nearby couple who abhor slavery; they then buy Isabella from her deceitful master and free her. Rockwell documents some remarkable incidents and demonstrates how far ahead of her time Isabella was: when her son is illegally sold to a plantation owner in another state, Isabella takes the perpetrator to court and wins the boy's freedom. "No one had ever heard of such a thing. Slaves didn't do such things. Women didn't do such things. But Isabella did." The author dramatically builds up to and convincingly recounts the pivotal moment when Isabella changes her name and vows to travel the country as "a voice for all the silent slaves still in bondage." Rockwell's vibrant storytelling, powerful content and moving author's note will likely send readers off to further reading about this extraordinary heroine. Christie (The Palm of My Heart: Poetry by African American Children) contributes stylized paintings that suggest a complex interior life for Sojourner. The artwork skillfully approaches the abstractDtwisting traditional perspective in a way that illuminates Sojourner's groundbreaking vision and voice. Ages 7-10. (Dec.)
Copyright 2000 Reed Business Information, Inc. --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.
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Top Customer Reviews
Isabella was sold only after a long day in which no bidders showed any interest--until the auctioneer threw in a flock of sheep. She was separated from her aged, ill parents, who were left to fend for themselves, having been worn out by cruel masters. Hell followed for Isabella, for her new master spoke English while she spoke Dutch--like most people in the Hudson valley. For not understanding, he whipped her so hard that her back bore the scars all the rest of her life.
She was sold to a tavern-keeper and, when she was 13, to a neighboring farmer named John Dumont. At 16, she was six feet tall and could do the work of any man. She was forced to wed, against her will, and bore four daughters and a son. In 1817, New York enacted a law that would free all slaves on July 4, 1827. By then, Isabella was 28. But when Dumont reneged on his promise to free her, she ran to a nearby farm, believing that its abolitionist owners would save her. The Van Wageners bought and freed her.
Dumont, however, sold her son Peter to an Alabama plantation owner. To sell a slave out-of-state was then illegal in New York. Isabella took the unheard-of step of hiring a white lawyer to plead a court case for the return of her son. She won, he returned, she sent him to school, and he became a sailor on a whaling ship.
After Peter left, Isabella dreamed that she should travel the U.S. and tell people of her bondage. She took the name of Sojourner Truth. The final pages of this adventure tell some of the accomplishments of this American heroine. The illustrations greatly compliment the story, accentuating the iron will of a woman who would not be bought, or silenced.
The book concludes with a one-page author's note and a chronology of the events of Sojourner Truth's life. In the former, the author writes of those times when evil rules, and good people feel called upon to tell the truth to those who do not wish to hear.
Sojourner Truth was such a person, and she lived in such a time. Children find this story inspirational. Alyssa A. Lappen
Seemed like dry facts cobbled together from someone's ramblings, then ended sort of with a whimper. I actually looked to see if there was a missing page as it ended so arbitrarily.
Mentions son Peter, who she fought to have returned to the state. She wins in court, then instead of ending Peter's story with his mother's victory, it goes on to say he goes off to work on a ship, letters stop coming, and she figures he must be dead. Talk about pointless and anticlimactic.