Wednesday, August 15, 2012

Sojourner Truth's Step-Stomp Stride

Title: Sojourner Truth's Step-Stomp Stride
Author: Andrea Davis Pinkney
Illustrator: Brian Pinkney
Publisher: Jump at the Sun
Publication Date: November, 2009
Genre/Format: Biography/Non-fiction
Goodreads Summary: Born into slavery, Belle had to endure the cruelty of several masters before she escaped to freedom. But she knew she wouldn't really be free unless she was helping to end injustice. That's when she changed her name to Sojourner and began traveling across the country, demanding equal rights for black people and for women. Many people weren't ready for her message, but Sojourner was brave, and her truth was powerful. And slowly, but surely as Sojourner's step-stomp stride, America began to change.

What I Think: Andrea Davis Pinkney knows how to put together a powerful picture book. It helps that her story is about a strong, amazing woman and is accompanied by beautiful illustrations. I really felt that the pastel, sketch-like illustrations complimented the text well and brought Andrea's words to focus. This book would be a great read aloud not just for the wonderful writing or the beautiful illustrations, but for how they work together. 
     This picture book is not just a biography of Sojourner Truth, but a story of history of slavery and women's rights. It was also interesting to find out the history behind The Narrative of Sojourner Truth: A Northern Slave. This book would be a wonderful introduction to this time in history and would cause a great deal of discussion. It would be a good jumping off point before reading larger expository texts about the same topics. What I loved the most about it is that no only is it informing, but it is glorifying Sojourner and not only who she was and how she looked, but all of the amazing things, big and small, that she did to make a big change a little bit at a time. 
Read Together: Grades K-8
Read Alone: Grades 2-5
Read With: The Narrative of Sojourner Truth by Sojourner Truth, Sojourner Truth- Ain't I a Woman? by Patricia C. McKissak, Heart and Soul: The Story of America and African Americans by Kadir Nelson, Henry's Freedom Box by Ellen Levine 
Snatch of Text: "Well, that was enough for Sojourner! She stood up. 
She STEPPED from the back of that church to the front. 
She STORMED past the stupidity of the men who had just spoken. 
Sojourner put one big-black-beautiful foot in front of the other and she STOMPED on the floorboards of ignorance that were underneath. To hear, the arguments made by the men were the beetles from her past. She couldn't wait to STOMP-STOMP-STOMP all over them." (p. 30)

Mentor Text for: Onomatopoeia, Voice, Mood, Alliteration
Writing Prompts: What freedoms do you have that you would fight for if they were taken away from you?; Do you think that Sojourner Truth would have had the same impact on abolitionism and civil rights as she did if she had chosen not to travel and give speeches? Explain. 
Topics Covered: Slavery, Religion, Freedom, Women's Suffrage, Abolitionism, Civil Rights, Prejudice
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