Sojourner Truth's Step-Stomp Stride

(Author) (Illustrator)

Product Details

$18.99  $17.66
Jump at the Sun
Publish Date
8.84 X 11.24 X 0.45 inches | 0.96 pounds
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About the Author

Andrea Davis Pinkney and Brian Pinkney have collaborated on several award-winning picture books, including Duke Ellington: The Piano Prince and His Orchestra and Ella Fitzgerald: The Tale of a Vocal Virtuosa. They live in Brooklyn, New York.

Brian Pinkney is the illustrator of many acclaimed books for children, including the Caldecott Honor Books Duke Ellington and The Faithful Friend, and the Coretta Scott King Award winner In the Time of the Drums.


The team behind the Caldecott Honor book Duke Ellington offers a rousing biography of this indefatigable abolitionist, born a slave. Her parents gave their baby the name Belle: "Seems her newborn's cry was ringing in good news. Nothing quiet about that girl." Fittingly, the author's punchy, poetic prose is anything but hushed as it follows Sojourner Truth's remarkable life. When her master failed to honor his promise to free her, the young woman "fled like tomorrow wasn't ever gonna come.... She refused to stop until she saw hope." She never truly stopped, traveling "up and down the land" to speak about freedom, "the fire that burns inside. And Sojourner Truth, she was full of fire." Earth tones dominate Brian Pinkney's sunlit paintings, which are given loose definition by strong, inky brushstrokes. Truth is often shown surrounded by a golden glow, and the images consistently convey her charisma and conviction, markedly in a riveting recreation of Truth's galvanizing "Ain't I a woman?" speech. True to the spirit of Sojourner Truth herself, the Pinkneys' work emanates confidence and grace. PW"
In her own "Narrative," Sojourner Truth described her "particular gait"-she was usually on a mission and didn't have time to waste. Her six-foot frame, passion for justice and "step-stomp stride" all come across in this swirling picture book, which takes us from her childhood as a slave in New York State around 1800 to her later career as a lecturer and abolitionist. Both her eloquence and lecture-pounding deliver ("Bam!") brought her renown. NYTBR"
The Pinkneys (Boycott Blues, 2008, etc.) collaborate on an upbeat yet nuanced picture biography of Sojourner Truth, whose slave name was Isabella. The towering young woman's "size twelves" metaphorically stomp out injustice: "Freedom meant putting her foot down for what she knew was right . She gave her slave name the boot, and called herself Sojourner Truth." Andrea Davis Pinkney's narrative adopts a confidential, admiring tone, tracing Truth's years of enslaved toil, her subsequent escape, deep religious faith and narration of her life story to abolitionist Olive Gilbert. Truth's legendary oratorical skill shines in a dramatic passage quoting her "Ain't I a Woman?" speech (punctuated by her fists' repeated "Bam!"). Brian Pinkney's watercolors, in washes of ochre and slate blue contoured in inky black, utilize a dry-brush technique well suited for depicting Truth's hardscrabble youth and unyielding commitment to justice. One poignant spread shows young Belle, sold away from her parents at nine; in another, the orator's life-size face and raised fist magnify her zealous fight for freedom. Imbued with a righteous beauty-like Sojourner herself. Kirkus"
A dynamic portrait of the freed slave whose physical and spiritual strength made her one of America's most powerful abolitionist voices. Andrea Pinkney explains how slave owners saw the robust Belle Baumfree as a profitable asset and sold her away from her parents at age nine. This episode deftly introduces modern children to the "ugly way" of slavery, yet does not frighten them with its chilling details. The author goes on to describe how the very strength that slave owners prized was the free Sojourner Truth's most valuable weapon against the institution. For example, the adult Sojourner Truth did not merely walk away from slavery: "She covered some ground, child. She got gone. She refused to stop until she saw hope." Then her strength allowed her to "travel up and down the land" to advocate freedom. The narrative speaks directly to children in such passages, and the conversational style makes this book an excellent choice for reading aloud. Brian Pinkney's vivid illustrations brilliantly reinforce his wife's lively words. Bold yellows and oranges are his dominant hues, and these colors express hope and optimism throughout. His broad, energetic strokes also echo the title and Sojourner Truth's robust "step-stomp stride." While some of Sojourner Truth's feelings may be imagined, Pinkney demonstrates the depth of her research with a "More about Sojourner Truth" feature. An essential purchase for all libraries. SLJ"
"Down came Sojourner's hand. An iron fist, smashing the lies of the day." The words in this rousing fictional biography express the fiery spirit of Sojourner Truth, who escaped from slavery and became a leading abolitionist and feminist. Both text and images show the cruelty she experienced in the South, when she was sold away from her parents. After fleeing north, she found work as a maid and began to draw crowds with her speeches: "When she preached, she let the words fly." The story reaches its dramatic peak in scenes of a women's rights convention in Akron, Ohio, in 1851, when Truth delivered her famous "And ain't I a woman?" speech in response to men's claims that women are too weak to deserve equal rights. The storyteller's colloquial narration and full-page scenes of Truth, rendered in swirling, energetic lines, make this a great read-aloud choice for young children, who will want to move from the fictional story to the appended biographical notes, which include a bibliography and archival portraits, including one with President Lincoln. Booklist"