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So Tall Within: Sojourner Truth’s Long Walk Toward Freedom is a lovely, meaty picture book containing poignant statements and images to that speak to the truth of hard times and hope. I loved reading through this book and showed it to a fellow homeschool mom who asked “Can I take this home and read it?” That makes for a nice book eh? Let me then, tell you all about it.
Written by Gary D. Schmidt, So Tall Within walks us through the life of Sojourner Truth on her way to freedom and living as an adult with a mission… freedom for slaves. I loved the set up of this lovely picture book, which is geared toward children 4-8 years old. The vignettes that opened each chapter spoke truth about what slavery was and did to the people trapped within that way of living. This opening page set the tone for the rest of the book, showing the promise within the hardship. I just loved how aptly the text fit the image created by Daniel Minter.
Schmidt walks us through Sojourner’s life, starting with her life as a slave with her momma Mau-mau Bett, learning to remember who her siblings were, to her eventual slavery, through the promise of freedom and finally needing to seize it. She married whom she was told to, had children and found her way to freedom with the help of good people. Despite her inability to read, she knew the law and her rights and fought for them. And through that, she developed her mission in life. Tell her story, help bring about freedom for others. And so Sojourner Truth walked and taught, and walked some more, telling her story to any who would listen. She travelled through Michigan, Iowa, Washington D.C, and beyond. Talking and walking, it was her life’s work fighting for freedom.
Interspersed among the 48 pages of the lovely book that causes one to think, ask questions, and ponder the will of a strong woman, are lovely pictures. Oh my! They are wonderful pictures filled with tons of images to point out to a young child, or that will inspire the thinking in an older one.
Images that are full of colour and darkness and light. Images to grab the artist within you and make you ponder all the more the story of Sojourner Truth. Seeing her faith, seeing her determination, seeing her will to succeed. Sojourner fought for what is right and didn’t let time or distance stop her.
She had help along the way, and we are shown that help. We saw her loss and fear. The Slavery was a Time images pulled out truth as we entered into a new part of Sojourner’s life.
Get this book. Read it with your youngsters. Use it as a start to a study on Black History. Let your teens read it as well! It’s not just a book for littles, but for anyone wanting to know more about Sojourner Truth and the struggles that black people had coming out of slavery. It was a tough time, but determination… wow.. it wins through.
So Tall Within: Sojourner Truth’s Long Walk Toward Freedom
Gary D. Schmidt
Daniel Minter (illustator)
Roaring Brook Press
48 pages, 4-8 years, Softcover, Picture Book
Biography, History, Black history
Reviewed for Raincoast Books
Find it on Amazon.