Through the Looking Glass Children's Book Reviews

Sojourner Truth

Sojourner Truth

Laura Hamilton Waxman
For ages 8 to 10
Lerner, 2008   ISBN: 978-0822571728

When Isabella was a slave working hard for her master, and doing her best to care for her own children, it looked as if she would have a life similar to the one that her parents had. She would have no control over what happened to her, she would be beaten, and her children would sold off by her master. But then a law was passed which said that all slaves born before July 4th, 1799 would be have to be freed July 4th, 1827.

Both Isabella and her husband Tom were promised that they would be freed a year early. Their master even said that he would let them live in a cottage on his property. Then the master changed his mind. Tired of her life and determined to find something better, Isabella collected a few things and then left her master's farm, taking her youngest baby with her.

Isabella was able to take refuge in the home of some abolitionists who cared so much about her that they paid her old master twenty dollars - a large amount of money at this time - to free her a year early.

When Isabella heard that her son Peter had been sold she decided to go to court. It was illegal for her old master to sell her son, and in the end Peter was returned to her, and he was freed as well. This was the first, but not the last time, that Isabella - who later took on the name Sojourner Truth - would use her voice to get justice for others.

In this History Maker Bios title the author succeeds in giving her young readers quite a detailed account of Sojourner Truth's life. There is a focus on Sojourner's wish to "make a difference," which will help children to get a sense of how special this brave and hard working woman was. Throughout the book the text is broken up by illustrations, period photographs, and boxes containing supplementary information about Sojourner and her world.