Saturday, July 10, 2010

Moses (Coretta Scott King Award Winner)

Author: Carole Boston Weatherford
Illustrator: Kadir Nelson
Year Published: 2006
Publisher: Jump at the Sun/Hyperion
Awards: Coretta Scott King Illustrator Award (2007), Caldecott Honor (2007)

What did you like/dislike about the book?
Carole Boston Weatherford's book, Moses: When Harriet Tubman Led Her People to Freedom, is a retelling of Harriet Tubman's travels from slavery to freedom.  It follows her long journey north, showing her fears and troubles, as well as her decision to return to the South to help other slaves.  The book is told using three different voices, the narrator's, Harriet's, and God's.  

My favorite details of the book are the illustrations.  There is a realism in Harriet's form that looks almost like a photograph.  Kadir Nelson's skills are on full display.  I also enjoy the historical basis for the book's events.

I did not like the language flow of the book.  The book seems a little disjointed because it is hard to differentiate between speakers.  Provided teachers give enough background, the spiritual tones of the book shouldn't pose a problem.  However, the plot zigzags a bit too much after Harriet decides to return south.

This book is appropriate in upper elementary classrooms.  It can be used with a study of African-American history or folk heroes.  It would also lend itself well to a classroom performance, due to its various speakers.

What in your life would have influenced this reaction/response?
I tend to enjoy realistic art, especially surrounding American history.  Tubman's features in the swamp, especially, truly convey her fear.  After learning about Tubman for most of my schooling career, this book pictorially captures her story unlike any other book I have read.

How does this book address diversity?
This book addresses the issues of slavery and the Underground Railroad using a spiritual undertone.  Harriet Tubman is a hero for her work helping other slaves escape to the North.  The introduction and epilogue in the book detail events surrounding Tubman's life and the lives of other slaves at that time.  

What did I learn about children’s literature from this book?
From this book, I learned that one can incorporate different voices within the same story.  Although the author did this in a disjointed way in this book, I can understand what she was trying to accomplish.  The author used different fonts for each speaker.

Other titles by this author include:

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