My Name Is Truth: The Life of Sojourner Truth

Book review by
Kyle Jackson, Common Sense Media
My Name Is Truth: The Life of Sojourner Truth Book Poster Image
Inspirational and informative intro to an American hero.

Parents say

No reviews yetAdd your rating

Kids say

No reviews yetAdd your rating

A lot or a little?

The parents' guide to what's in this book.

Educational Value

The story serves as an informative introduction to the life of one of the strongest voices in the abolitionist movement. The author's note at the end gives a more detailed overview of Sojourner Truth's historical impact and the enduring legacy of her fight for civil rights.

Positive Messages

Truth's biography reveals a tragic example of the horrors endured under the system of slavery, with families torn apart, bodies broken by hard labor, and dignity crushed in the name of profits. Her escape from captivity and subsequent career as a speaker and spokesperson for the anti-slavery cause make this story one of hope and liberation in the face of adversity and oppression. 

Positive Role Models & Representations

Sojourner is a shining example of someone whose dedication to faith, justice, and truth inspired others to take up the cause of equality under the law. Not only was she an early civil rights hero, she was a proto-feminist, daring to stand up to powerful men, meeting them in dialogue and debating on equal footing. 

Violence & Scariness

Though there are no illustrations of violence, there is one reference to the brutality of slavery, an incident wherein Sojourner's master heated up sticks in a fire and "beat me until the blood ran."

Language

What parents need to know

Parents need to know that My Name Is Truth: The Life of Sojourner Truth is a stylized and emotionally powerful biography of the former slave and abolitionist crusader who dedicated her life to sharing her heartrending life story so others might be inspired to take up the fight for civil rights. Though it's aimed at young readers, this beautifully illustrated picture book is rich in historical information and acts as a good starting point for further investigation into one of 19th-century America's most prominent female voices. 

User Reviews

  • Parents say
  • Kids say

There aren't any reviews yet. Be the first to review this title.

There aren't any reviews yet. Be the first to review this title.

What's the story?

My Name Is Truth: The Life of Sojourner Truth tells the harrowing and true story of one of 19th-century black America's towering figures, the former-slave-turned-abolitionist firebrand who took her name from her dedication to spreading a message of justice. Award-winning children's book author Ann Taylor, who previously wrote the first-person narrative Abe Lincoln Remembers, teamed up with Coretta Scott King Honor-winning illustrator James Ransom to create this poignant and moving biography, which is told from Truth's perspective but does not use actual quotes. The story traces the arc of Sojourner's life, from her childhood and motherhood in captivity, to her dramatic escape and rescue by a nearby Dutch family, to her legal challenge of her son's illegal sale out of state, to her career as a nationally respected public speaker and author.    

Is it any good?

The text is stylized with African-American colloquialisms and colored with vivid imagery and poetic rhythm. James Ransom's watercolor illustrations are gorgeous and evocative, maintaining a tone of hope even in the story's darkest moments. These examples of the cruelty and insensitivity that African-Americans often suffered in that era reveal the grotesqueness of racism and the continued importance of a deep societal commitment to social justice and ending discrimination.

Equal parts painful and powerful, My Name Is Truth sheds light on an important leader and one of the most troubling chapters of United States history. 

Talk to your kids about ...

  • Families can talk about the long and continuing struggle for human rights in the United States and elsewhere. How have figures such as Sojourner Truth, Frederick Douglass, W.E.B. DuBois, and Martin Luther King Jr. contributed to the spreading of the message of equality? 

  • The social and economic effects of slavery in America are still being felt 150 years after the Civil War officially outlawed it. What's the lasting legacy of that brutality and exploitation? Will those wounds ever heal, and how can each of us do our part to help?

Book details

Themes & Topics

Browse titles with similar subject matter.

For kids who love books about heroes of U.S. history

Our editors recommend

Top advice and articles

Common Sense Media's unbiased ratings are created by expert reviewers and aren't influenced by the product's creators or by any of our funders, affiliates, or partners.

See how we rate

About these links

Common Sense Media, a nonprofit organization, earns a small affiliate fee from Amazon or iTunes when you use our links to make a purchase. Thank you for your support.

Read more

Our ratings are based on child development best practices. We display the minimum age for which content is developmentally appropriate. The star rating reflects overall quality and learning potential.

Learn how we rate