September 7, 2015
Sojourner Truth’s Step-Stomp Stride by Andrea Davis Pinkney and Brian Pinkney
Sojourner Truth’s Step-Stomp Stride
by Andrea Davis Pinkney
illustrated by Brian Pinkney
Disney/Jump at the Sun Books
I’m a little embarrased to admit that this book came out in 2009 and I’m only now discovering it. For shame!
Born as Belle, Sojourner Truth was also born a slave. And she was a slave of note. As a child, she was almost 6 feet tall. She wore a size 12 shoe. Because she was so big and strong she could do a hard-day’s work when she was still a child. She was onl 9 years old when she was sold away from her parents.
Eventually she was owned by a man named John Dumont. Dumont promised to free her if she worked extra hard for him. For years, Belle worked at any job he gave her but there was one thing he refused to give her and that was her promised freedom.
Belle had had enough she ran away. She made her way to a Quaker farm. When Dumont caught up with her there, the Quakers paid for her but they didn’t want human property. They set her free.
She changed her name to Sojourner Truth. She wanted people to know as soon as they met her that she was a traveler who spoke the truth. And that is what she did. She spoke against slavery. When she heard men speak out against women’s right, she spoke up for this cause as well.
Andrea Pinkney’s text gives enough information to hook and inform young readers without overwhelming them. Brian Pinkney’s illustrations aren’t so realistic as to be overwhelming. I comment on this because he includes the emotionally powerful scene where Belle is taken from her parents. He doesn’t reduce the scene but it is distant enough that it isn’t too much to bear. Don’t think that he can’t portray emotion. When Sojourner speaks at the women’s rights convention, her anger comes through loud and clear.
This book is excellent not only as a biography but also in introducing young readers to the historically significant issues of slavery and women’s rights. Add this to both your classroom library and your home bookself today.