She Persisted: Harriet Tubman

Book review by
Carrie Kingsley, Common Sense Media
She Persisted: Harriet Tubman Book Poster Image
Humanizing story of a fierce, tender, trailblazing woman.

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A lot or a little?

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

Educational Value

Facts about Harriet Tubman's life, the Underground Railroad, the way enslaved people were treated, other historical information.

Positive Messages

Never stop fighting for the things that matter most to you. Determination, compassion, intelligence are important and should be nurtured.

Positive Role Models

Harriet is brave and kind, shows commitment and caring. Her parents cared for her, helped give her the tools to escape.

Violence & Scariness

Mentions that children were separated from their families, that enslaved people were beaten, that Harriet was whipped for taking a bite of sugar, that people were sold, that they weren't treated as people. 


What parents need to know

Parents need to know that She Persisted: Harriet Tubman, by Andrea Davis Pinkney and Chelsea Clinton, is a beautifully written biography of Tubman that includes just the right amount of detail to help young readers understand her life and times. Part of the She Persisted series, this book doesn't shy away from the physical or emotional pain that enslaved people suffered, and shows their humanity. Harriet's deep connection to her family helps bring a biography that could seem like a generations-ago historical account into the urgent present. There are lots of moments for discussion and reflection, and some tips for honoring Tubman's determination and bravery at the end of the book.

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What's the story?

SHE PERSISTED tells the life story of Harriet "Minty" Tubman, an enslaved woman who not only escaped to freedom herself but returned many times to help other enslaved people escape, too. Born to a loving family kept by a harsh enslaver, young Harriet was rented out to other families most of her childhood. As an adult, when she heard she was going to be sold, she decided she had to run away to freedom. She relied on a network of helpers called the Underground Railroad to get to safety. She risked her life by going back many times to help other enslaved people to freedom.

Is it any good?

Authors Andrea Davis Pinkney and Chelsea Clinton use clear writing and a relatable family to help young readers make an emotional connection to this remarkable American. She Persisted: Harriet Tubman is perfectly age appropriate, sharing history in a way that makes it easy to understand what has happened in the past and bring those lessons into the present. The hard realities of Tubman's life are shown with authenticity, and the section offering ways to honor her legacy is a wonderful opportunity for reflection and action.

Talk to your kids about ...

  • Families can talk about how Harriet's early life shaped her future, as shown in She Persisted: Harriet Tubman. What have been the big moments in your life so far? Have they changed you?

  • In what ways can you work to help make things right in your own community, in your school, in your neighborhood?

  • What other books have you read about important women in history? Which are your favorites?

Book details

Our editors recommend

For kids who love biographies and Black history

Themes & Topics

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