So Tall Within: Soujourner Truth’s Long Walk Toward Freedom

Ages: 5 - 10Publisher: Roaring Brook Press Author: Gary SchmidtIllustrator: Daniel Minter


Born a slave in 1797 in Ulster County, New York, Isabella never knew her many brothers and sisters who were sold away. Her mother pointed out the stars and the moon teaching Isabella that they shone on all of them no matter where they were. At about age nine, Isabella herself was sold for a hundred dollars and a flock of sheep. In a life filled with hard work and betrayals, Isabella developed an inner strength and became “tall within.”

In middle age, she changed her name to Sojourner Truth and began a journey across many states preaching against slavery and all forms of injustice.

Daniel Minter’s haunting and expressive illustrations of Gary D. Schmidt’s tightly woven text, are at once inspired and inspiring. The mixed media, full color, double page spreads show Sojourner Truth from an angle that elongates her and creates the illusion of enormous stature. Other pages brilliantly illustrate quotes from Sojourner Truth “in Slavery Time” (when promises were thin as old smoke) or “in Freedom Time” (when chains broke and words got up to sing and tiredness, oh tiredness, danced a Hallelujah ? ). So Tall Within is a masterpiece waiting to be discovered.

Kemie Nix ©2018 Parents’ Choice

Kemie Nix is Chairman of Children’s Literature for Children (CLC), a non-profit, tax-exempt, educational organization dedicated to bringing children and books together. Mrs. Nix, a senior book editor for Parents’ Choice, has a remarkable sense of selecting books children love to read.

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