cover image My Name Is Truth: The Life of Sojourner Truth

My Name Is Truth: The Life of Sojourner Truth

Ann Turner, illus. by James Ransome. Harper, $17.99 (40p) ISBN 978-0-06-075898-1

With plainspoken lyricism, Turner imagines Isabella Baumfree narrating her own story: the violent dehumanization she endured as a slave, her escape from slavery, and how she evolved into the figure known as Sojourner Truth. Turner is unflinching in her account of the abuses inflicted on Baumfree by slave-owners: “I was always getting beat./ Once he fired up a bunch of green/ sticks in the fire hardened like stone/ and beat me until the blood ran.” After securing her own freedom, Baumfree gained legal help to retrieve her enslaved son, and embraced a new role as a civil rights activist and preacher. Ransome’s watercolors infuse the story with emotion, from the agony of separation (her 11 siblings were “sold off one by one”) to her impassioned speeches and the contentment and satisfaction she eventually found. Ages 6–10. (Jan.)