Through the Looking Glass Children's Book Reviews

Sojourner Truth's Step-Stomp Stride

Sojourner Truth's Step-Stomp Stride

Andrea Davis Pinkney
Illustrator:   Brian Pinkney 
Nonfiction Picture Book
For ages 6 to 8
Disney Press, 2009   ISBN: 978-0786807673

Long ago, a baby girl was born into slavery on a farm. Her name was Belle, and she grew into a big strong child who could, and did, work hard on her master’s farm. Being so strong and big, Belle was worth a lot of money, so her master sold her. She was just nine years old when she was taken from her parents, and sold off to the highest bidder.

Belle’s new master, John Dumont, promised that he would free Belle if she “worked extra hard for him.” Wanting her freedom more than anything, Belle worked hard for years, but John Dumont broke his promise, refusing to free his hard working slave. Being a determined young woman, Belle decided to run away. Luckily, she ended up in the home of a Quaker couple who were abolitionists. The husband bought Belle’s freedom when Mr. Dumont caught up with her, and Belle was finally free to do as she wished.

Belle went to New York City and got a job that she was paid to do. Such freedom was a wonderful thing, and Belle decided that she needed to spread the word. She needed to help others to get their freedom. It was at this point that Belle changed her name. She called herself Sojourner Truth, and she set out to tell the world about the injustices that she saw around her. She preached about the plight of slaves, and she preached about the need for women to have the same rights as men. She dared to speak up when no one else would. She was “Big. Black. Beautiful. True.”

This powerful picture book beautifully captures the courage and determination that lay at the heart of everything that Sojourner Truth did. We hear her words, and come to appreciate what an extraordinary person this woman was.

At the back of the book, there is further information about Sojourner Truth and her life.