Marching Women’s History: Moses of her People

title: Biography: Harriet Tubman

author: Kem Knapp Sawyer

date: DK Publishing; 2010

“There was one of two things I had a right to, liberty or death; If I could not have one, I would have the other.” ~Harriet Tubman

I love DK books and will buy just about anything they publish. Buying the Biography of Harriet Tubman proved to be no mistake! Most books about Tubman dwell on her time with the underground railroad but this slim volume actually traces Tubman’s life from its ancestral roots with the Ashanti people of West Africa through her death at age 91. Historic and geographic evidence provides readers with an understanding of what Tubman endured, and why. Photographs are provided where possible but so are drawings, documents and maps.

from the jacket:

Harriet Tubman was born into a world most of us can barely imagine. As a slave on a plantation, she could be whipped, beaten, or separated from her family at any time, based only on the whims of her owners. In 1849, she decided she’d had enough–risking her life, she escaped to the free state of Pennsylvania. But in the end, gaining her own liberty was not enough for her. Over the course of the next decade, she embarked on a series of missions to guide other slaves to freedom, earning her the nickname “Moses” and a reputation as one of the foremost antislavery activists in American history.

Although she struggled with financial difficulties after the war, she continued to work for the rights of Blacks and women, adopted a child and opened the Harriet Tubman home to care for the aged. When she could no longer care for herself, she moved into the Tubman Home where she spent the remainder of her days.

“Regardless of how impossible a task might seem…she tackled it with determination to win.”

~Harriet’s grandniece Alice Bricker

Marching Women’s History: While at war

Tasting the sky: a Palestinian childhood

by: Ibtisam Barakat

Farrar, Strauss and Giroux, 2007

from the flap

In this powerful, groundbreaking memoir, Ibtisam Barakat captures what it is like to be a child whose world is shattered by war. With candor and courage she stitches together memories: fleeing from her home and becoming separated from her family as the Six-Day War breaks out; the harshness of life as a Palestinian refugee; and her unexpected joy when she discovers Alef, the first letter of the Arabic alphabet, and his family of letters. As language becomes her refuge-a true home that can never be taken away-she begins to piece together the fragments of her splintered world.

Alef the letter

is a refugee.

From paper

To paper

He knows

No home.


Alef the letter,

He is the shape

Of a key

To the postal box

Of memory.


Alef the letter

sits in the front

of the bus

Of alphabets

To see.

He sees war,

He looks above it.

He sees war’

He looks below it

And beyond it

To see peace.


Alef knows

That a thread

Of a story

Stitches together

A wound.


Alef the letter,

He’s the shape

Of hope.

Like me,

A refugee.


For me,

My refuge.

Read an excerpt.

Making History

The Feminist Texan has been celebrating women’s history month with really nice giveaways. Right now, it’s Anne Moody’s Coming of Age in Mississippi.

Zetta Elliott expounds on her experience as a Black feminist in publishing on Women Doing Literary Things.

KidLitCelebrates Women’s history is full of great book related posts for this month included Doret’s post full of picture books based on the lives of women of color and today’s post by Tonya Bolden which highlight her many non-fiction works on women throughout history.

And finally, this new source of information for those serving incarerated youth was posted on my INLibraries listerv.

In order to initiate a nationwide discussion, all school, public, academic, and special librarians who provide or support the provision of library services to incarcerated youth are invited to a new wiki.
The project is just beginning, its members have a ton of great ideas, and they would like you to join in the discussion!

All across America, youth are incarcerated or detained with little or no access to high-interest books or engaging programming. Research has shown that free and independent reading is the number one tool to
improve literacy. Literacy is a vital component to reducing recidivism as well as of utmost importance in a democratic society.  Appropriate library services and programs to incarcerated youth are vital to providing and improving detention based services.  Because youth come from and will return to all communities, library services to incarcerated youth is vital to all communities.

The purpose of the wiki is to share best practices in library programming and services to incarcerated youth amongst those providing those services, to share best practices with those seeking to deliver library services to incarcerated youth in their communities, and to encourage librarians in all communities to promote, support and provide outreach of the highest quality to incarcerated youth in their communities.

We are looking forward to a meeting at ALA Annual in New Orleans. We have a tentative scheduled date of Saturday, June 25th from 8-9 pm.  Please add your name to the wiki and watch for UPDATES to time, place and venue. Mark your calendars!



Marching Womens History: Almost

Almost A Woman by Esmeralda Santiago

Viking Books, 1998

from the back of the book:

In this memoir, the acclaimed author of When I Was Puerto Rican continues the riveting chronicle of her emergence from the barrios of Brooklyn to the theaters of Manhattan.

Negi, as Santiago’s family affectionately calls her, leaves rural Macun in 1961 to live in a three-room tenement apartment with seven young siblings, an inquisitive grandmother, and a strict mother who won’t allow her to date. At thirteen, Negi yearns for her own bed, privacy, and a life with her father, who remains in Puerto Rico. Translating for Mami at the welfare office in the morning, starring as Cleopatra at New York’s prestigious Performing Arts High School in the afternoons, and dancing salsa all night, she yearns to find balance between being American and being Puerto Rican. When Negi defies her mother by going on a series of hilarious dates, she finds that independence brings its own set of challenges.

At once a universally poignant coming-of-age take and a brave and heartfelt immigrant’s story, Almost a Woman is Santiago’s triumphant journey into womanhood.

Santiago’s latest book, Conquistadora will be in stores on 15 July.