Through the Looking Glass Children's Book Reviews

Sojourner Truth: Preacher for Freedom and Equality

Sojourner Truth: Preacher for Freedom and Equality

Suzanne Slade
Illustrator:  Natascha Alex Blanks 
Nonfiction Picture Book
For ages 6 to 8
Picture Window Books, 2007   ISBN: 978-1404837263

Sojourner was born a slave on a farm in New York around the year 1797. She was named Isabella back then and since her master was Dutch, she grew up speaking Dutch too. When Isabella was only nine years old her master died. Isabella’s aging parents were freed but she and her brother were sold off to different people and Isabella’s family was broken up.

Isabella was sold several times. Then, she was sold to the Dumont family to work on their farm and in their house. When she was eighteen she met a slave called Tom whom she married and with whom she had five children.

As time passed by and as the antislavery movement got stronger Mr. Dumont promised to free Isabella and her husband but he did not keep his word. So in 1826 Isabella took her baby Sophia and ran away.

She found refuge in the home of some neighbors where she was given paid work and where she was free for the first time in her life. She dreamed of the day when the rest of her family would also be free.

As the years passed by Isabella changed her name to Sojourner and she became a preacher and public speaker. She met with abolitionists, working to bring an end to slavery. She also was active in the women’s rights movement preaching that “everyone should have equal rights” irrespective of their race, religion, or sex.

With its unique collage artwork and its well written text this picture book will provide young children with an excellent introduction to the life and work of Sojourner Truth. At the back of the book there is a timeline of Sojourner’s life, a “Did you know” section, a glossary, and a list of resources.