ONLY PASSING THROUGH: The Story of Sojourner Truth Anne Rockwell, illus. by R. Gregory Christie. Dell/Dragonfly, $6.99 ISBN 0-440-41766-X. ~ The author follows the heroine from age nine, when she is sold at auction, through her transformation into an itinerant preacher against the evils of slavery. In a starred review, PW called it a "vibrant story with powerful content. The artwork skillfully approaches the abstract-twisting traditional perspective in a way that illuminates Sojourner's groundbreaking vision and voice." Ages 7-10. (Dec.) Copyright 2002 Cahners Business Information.
Publishers Weekly - Publisher's 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 Cahners Business Information.
School Library Journal
Gr 3-6-Anne Rockwell's poignant telling of the life of Sojourner Truth (Knopf, 2000) is beautifully presented in this exquisite book on tape. Renee Joshua-Porter reads the book, capturing its spirit in her measured and expressive tones. The tape begins and ends with Joshua-Porter's singing of two significant hymns from Sojourner Truth's life. The audiobook follows her from slavery to emancipation, then shows her speaking out against the horrors of slavery. Her powerful words influenced a nation. Her famous "Ain't I a Woman?" speech is included, as well as a recounting of her visit with President Abraham Lincoln. The book clearly shows Sojourner's courage in standing up for what she believed in despite threats against her personal safety. Sojourner Truth's story can set an example and inspire today's generation. Teachers will find this exceptional production valuable during Black History Month and throughout the year.-Teresa Bateman, Brigadoon Elementary School, Federal Way, WA Copyright 2001 Cahners Business Information.
Leonard S. Marcus
The story of Sojourner Truth, the freed slave who became a spokesperson and an inspiration for her people, receives an unflinchingly honest and eloquent airing in this narrative with dramatic expressionist illustrations.
A lot of information is packed into this picture-book biography. Sojourner, originally named Isabella, was a Dutch-speaking child born into slavery. Details about her life in slavery, when she was purchased by an English-speaking master, her marriage to a man selected by her master, the birth and loss of her children, and the events leading up to her transformation to an advocate for freedom, are recounted with passion. Rockwell (Career Day, p. 720, etc.) adds an author's note explaining her motivation for writing this biography and cites Sojourner's autobiography as her most helpful source. Additional information includes data about the subject's life beyond the events chronicled and a timeline. The book is written in serial style, with a cliffhanger phrase at the end of each page. Coretta Scott King Honor Award winner Christie's (The Palm of My Heart: Poetry by African American Children, 1996) primitive-style illustrations are striking. Oversized, mask-like heads, often fierce and foreboding, dominate many of the drawings. Earth-toned colors predominate in the stark depiction of Sojourner's early life and the slave owners who mistreated her, but her strength shines through in all the illustrations. An excellent addition to the biography shelf as a compelling story of an extraordinary woman, as well as for its pertinence to school assignments. (Picture book/biography. 7-10)
From the Publisher
Reviewed in Bookselling Kids' Pick of the Lists Part Two for October 2000.
"The facts in this picture-book biography speak as eloquently as its illustrations, which have an authority and passion recalling Jacob Lawrence's Harriet and the Promised Land."—The Horn Book, Starred Review
"The look and feel of a children’s classic . . . a valuable addition to any child’s library.”
-- The New York Times
“Rockwell’s vibrant storytelling, powerful content and moving author’s note will likely send readers off to further reading about this extraordinary heroine.”
-- Publishers Weekly, Starred
"It's a powerful story, well told and handsomely set; worth of its courageous subject." -- The Horn Book Magazine, Starred
From the Hardcover edition.