Sojourner Truth’s Step-Stomp Stride

Sojourner Truth’s Step-Stomp Stride

Andrea Davis Pinkney, Author

Brian Pinkney, Illustrator

Disney Jump at the Sun Books, 2009, Historical Fiction

Suitable for:  Ages 5 and up

Themes:  Slave, Abolitionist, Feminist

Opening/Synopsis:  “She was big.  She was black.  She was so beautiful.  Her name was Sojourner.  Truth be told, she was meant for great things.   Meant for speaking.  Meant for preaching.  Meant for teaching the truth about freedom.  Big. Black. Beautiful. True.  That was Sojourner.”  Sojourner was born a slave  in New York in 1797.  Her parents named her Belle.  She was a valuable slave because she was six feet tall, with size-twelve feet and she was strong and worked hard.   She wanted her freedom and ran away.  She stumbled upon a Quaker family who were abolitionists.   The couple bought her freedom.   She  believed freedom belonged to everyone.  She set out to speak her truth and help others.  She changed her name to Sojourner Truth because she intended to spread the word about freedom and the unfair treatment of black people and women.  In 1851, she stormed a women’s rights convention in a church Akron, Ohio and smashed the lies that were spoken about women that day.  She spoke her truth and marched out of the church.

What I like this book:  It shows the strength and determination of a black woman who was born a slave, could not read or write, yet became a very strong voice for freedom and equal rights for women, before the civil war was even fought.  She let nothing get in her way.  Andrea Davis Pinkney has done a beautiful job of captivating the spirit of this remarkable woman.  The text has a unique and wonderful rhythm and evokes a lot of emotion.  The illustrations by Brian Pinkney, are spirited, bold and emotive.  Together they have created a very memorable picture book that belongs in every school library.  Sojourner  is a leader for young readers today.

Resources:  There are pages of historical information and resources about Sojourner Truth at the end of the book.  An abolitionist friend, Olive Gilbert, wrote a book about her in 1850, “The Narrative of Sojourner Truth: A Northern Slave.”  There also is a photo of her meeting with President Abraham Lincoln on Oct. 29, 1864.   He signed her book.   There is a teacher lesson plan for Sojourner Truth with many great activities.

To see a complete listing of all the Perfect Picture Books with resources, please visit author Susanna Leonard Hill’s Perfect Picture Books.  Or click on the Perfect Picture Book Fridays  badge in the right sidebar.

About Patricia Tiltonhttps://childrensbooksheal.wordpress.comI want "Children's Books Heal" to be a resource for parents, grandparents, teachers and school counselors. My goal is to share books on a wide range of topics that have a healing impact on children who are facing challenges in their lives. If you are looking for good books on grief, autism, visual and hearing impairments, special needs, diversity, bullying, military families and social justice issues, you've come to the right place. I also share books that encourage art, imagination and creativity. I am always searching for those special gems to share with you. If you have a suggestion, please let me know.

39 thoughts on “Sojourner Truth’s Step-Stomp Stride

  1. Oh, my, how I want to know more about Sojourner Truth and what a powerful name! That little Quaker family deserve some recognition too! Those opening lines are fine and strong. I love it.


    • Joanna, was born Isabelle. She realized at an early age that she had a God given gift for speaking, even though she couldn’t read or write. She knew it was her mission and chose her own name, Soujourner Truth. She actually was sought after as a speaker. Amazing that a book was written about Sojourner by her white friend, and it was published. Andrea Davis Pinkney is a powerful writer — you would enjoy the rhythm and structure of speech.


  2. Even the title captivated me. This sounds like such a powerful book! Thank you for sharing it. I particularly appreciate learning about it after having so recently heard Andrea Davis Pinkney interviewed for the Children’s Book Hub. Thank you, yet again, for the books you bring to our attention.


    • Beth, when I was preparing for the interview with Andrea Davis Pinkney, I discovered this book and knew I wanted to review it. She is a powerful author! You would LOVE her rhythmic approach and her use of language to tell the story.


  3. Pingback: We Are Sojourner Truth | Black Write & Read

    • Stacy, knowing the time period, it was really hard for me to imagine how she could be so vocal — and still live. And, she was sought after as a speaker. Remarkable woman who was an inspiration to so many.


    • Yes, you’re right Erik. It has many strong messages. Sojourner realized early on that she a God-given gift for speaking. She knew she had a mission to use her voice to help others. Great book.


  4. What a fantastic site you have here! This book looks wonderful. There’s just so much beautiful children’s literature out there that there just doesn’t seem to be enough years to languish in all these wonderful books. I’ve just ordered my kids some new books as a surprise and can’t wait until they get here myself!


  5. Patricia can you possibly help?
    A friend has an 8 year old boy with high functioning autism and she is finding it extremely difficult to find suitable books for him. He wants challenging text but also still wants the colourful picture book format. Even the autism specialists have been unable to help. Have you any suggestions?


    • Ella, I know many children that are high functioning usually become enamored with specific subjects and read everything they can. Since he still seems to want picture books, there are a lot of very good non-fiction and historical fiction books that are lengthier and more advanced. There are some examples, if you go back through my blog like “The Mangrove Tree.” I reviewed the best book written by a parent on autism, called “Following Ezra” by Tom Fields-Meyer on Feb. 13. His father had a very interesting approach to working with his son, who is now an expert animator at age 15. If you read the review, click on the father’s blog site at the bottom of my Feb. 13 review. He is great about communicting with people. You may want to pass the info along to the parents. — Pat


  6. Oh wow, another beautiful collaboration between Andrea and Brian Pinkney – such a beautiful tandem. I have explored a number of books by the Pinkneys but have not come across this one yet. As we are exploring girl power and women’s issues/themes this March/April, I would definitely look for this book in our library. Would pin this in our Pinterest board so I won’t forget. Many thanks for the recommendation, Pat!


    • Myra, I thought of you when I reviewed this book and almost mentioned it to you. I heard Andrea Pinkney a couple of months ago on a webinar. They are a brilliant team. This book is beyond exceptional. A black woman who traveled and spoke about equality for all in the 1850s. She was an abolitionist and a femininst! Way ahead of her time. Glad you like it so much.


  7. Pingback: Women’s History Month: Alfre Woodard recites “Ain’t I A Woman?” by Sojourner Truth | Black Write & Read

  8. I’m putting this on my list right away. I love to study how authors write history and historical fiction. I am getting so many great recommendations through the PPBF network. Thank you, thank you!


    • Kirsten, this was one good book. Wish I had reviewed it earlier in February. But, it also ties into feminism and March is Women’s Month. Sojourner knew her mission in life early, and wasn’t afraid to stand up infront of groups and speak her truth. She actually was sought after as a speake — in the 1850s!


  9. Thanks so much, Pat! I love stories about real people that can help kids learn about history and how one person can make a difference. Children need strong role models…Sojourner is definitely that!


  10. Pingback: Two of My Articles Made Google News in their Category | Black Write & Read

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