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Weatherford's handsome picture book about Harriet Tubman focuses mostly on Tubman's religious inspiration, with echoes of spirituals ringing throughout the spare poetry about her struggle ("Lord, don't let nobody turn me 'round"). God cradles Tubman and talks with her; his words (printed in block capitals) both inspire her and tell her what to do ("SHED YOUR SHOES; WADE IN THE WATER TO TRICK THE DOGS"). Nelson's stirring, beautiful artwork makes clear the terror and exhaustion Tubman felt during her own escape and also during her brave rescue of others. There's no romanticism: the pictures are dark, dramatic, and deeply coloured--whether showing the desperate young fugitive "crouched for days in a potato hole" or the tough middle-aged leader frowning at the band of runaways she's trying to help. The full-page portrait of a contemplative Tubman turning to God to help her guide her people is especially striking. Hazel Rochman
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Carole Boston Weatherford has authored more than a dozen children's books, including Jazz Baby and Juneteeth Jamboree (both available from Turnaround). Kadir Nelson has illustrated Ellington Was Not a Street, a Coretta Scott King Illustrator Award winner and Big Jabe: Hewitt Anderson's Great Big Life, winner of the Gold Medal from the Society of Illustrators' Original Art show among other titles.