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SOJOURNER TRUTH’S STEP-STOMP STRIDE by Andrea Davis Pinkney Kirkus Star


by Andrea Davis Pinkney & illustrated by Brian Pinkney

Pub Date: Nov. 24th, 2009
ISBN: 978-0-7868-0767-3
Publisher: Disney-Jump at the Sun

The Pinkneys (Boycott Blues, 2008, etc.) collaborate on an upbeat yet nuanced picture biography of Sojourner Truth, whose slave name was Isabella. The towering young woman’s “size twelves” metaphorically stomp out injustice: “Freedom meant putting her foot down for what she knew was right…. She gave her slave name the boot, and called herself Sojourner Truth.” Andrea Davis Pinkney’s narrative adopts a confidential, admiring tone, tracing Truth’s years of enslaved toil, her subsequent escape, deep religious faith and narration of her life story to abolitionist Olive Gilbert. Truth’s legendary oratorical skill shines in a dramatic passage quoting her “Ain’t I a Woman?” speech (punctuated by her fists’ repeated “Bam!”). Brian Pinkney’s watercolors, in washes of ochre and slate blue contoured in inky black, utilize a dry-brush technique well suited for depicting Truth’s hardscrabble youth and unyielding commitment to justice. One poignant spread shows young Belle, sold away from her parents at nine; in another, the orator’s life-size face and raised fist magnify her zealous fight for freedom. Imbued with a righteous beauty—like Sojourner herself. (author’s note, bibliography) (Picture book/biography. 5-8)