Moses: When Harriet Tubman Led Her People to Freedom by Carole Boston Weatherford is a extraordinary children’s book that reaches and teaches children at the same time. It has received both The Caldecott Honor Book Award and Coretta Scott King Award, to of the most prestigious awards in the fictional children’s book genre. Weatherfords’ book is very deserving of both of these awards, as it brings attention to a part of American history, which many would rather forget, and it does so in a way that keeps children listening attentively and asking questions.
In Moses: When Harriet Tubman Led Her People to Freedom Weatherford describes the spiritual journey of Harriet Tubman, as she finds her way to freedom through the encouragement of her faith. This fictional tale of faith and belief is based on Harriet Tubman’s journey to freedom through the Underground Railroad. It also touches on Tubman’s doubt of herself as well as her strength along her way as a runaway slave, and it portrays how Tubman finds the support in the church to continue in her strive to free her family and eventually hundreds of slaves.
In the foreword Weatherford introduces the history of slavery to the children, and she describes the purpose of the Underground Railroad. The foreword as well as the author note is an essential part of Moses: When Harriet Tubman Led Her People to Freedom, as it provides the reader with tools to discuss slavery and the Underground Railroad with the kids. In the Author’s note Weatherford gives a detailed account of Tubman’s life, journey to freedom and her successful travels along the Underground Railroad to free several hundred slaves.
Kadir Nelson’s dark and dramatic illustrations in Moses: When Harriet Tubman Led Her People to Freedom provide the perfect accompaniment to Weatherford’s amazing portrayal of Tubman’s strong spiritual faith. The illustrations all tell a story in themselves, and I found my children studying every page carefully, while they attentively listened to the words of Weatherford. From the tiniest leaf to a huge ax, or a small bird flying away in the distance, everything in Nelson’s illustrations of this book has significant importance, and I was amazed at how my children could point out some of the symbols and connect them to the storyline.
Moses: When Harriet Tubman Led Her People to Freedom is a book that my children and I have read numerous times, and every time they discover and learn something new. The poetic storyline always capture my sons’ attention and brings out their curiosity about civil rights and the history of slavery in America. It also makes them question their own heritage and lives of their ancestors, and it does not take long before we are talking about our own family history.
Author: Carole Boston Weatherford
Illustrator: Kadir Nelson
Award: Caldecott Honor Book, Coretta Scott King Award
Reading level: Ages 4-8
Hardcover: 48 pages
Publisher: Hyperion Book CH (August 8, 2006)
You can buy Moses: When Harriet Tubman Led Her People to Freedom by Carole Boston Weatherford at amazon.com.