Sojourner Truth’s Step-Stomp Stride
by Andrea Davis Pinkney and Brian Pinkney
About the book:
Sojourner Truth was as strong and tall as most men. She was big, black and so beautiful. Born into slavery, Sojourner ran away as a young girl. She cherished her freedom, and believed it should be granted to everyone. But she didn’t fight for it with her mighty fists, and she didn’t stomp for it with her giant boots. Sojourner spoke the truth, and struggled against injustice with her brave, beautiful words. With lyrical text and spirited illustrations, the award-winning team of Andrea Davis Pinkney and Brian Pinkney brings one of America’s greatest heroes to life. Following Sojourner from her courageous plantation escape to her meeting with Abraham Lincoln, this is a stirring portrait of a woman who pulled herself up by her great big bootsraps. A warrior for justice above all else, Sourjourner allowed no bias to cross her path without a fight.
Andrea Davis Pinkney
has written several acclaimed picture books, works of nonfiction and novels. Her titles for middle grade readers include Solo Girl, Raven in a Dove House, Silent Thunder, and Let It Shine: Stories of Black Women Freedom Fighters, a Coretta Scott King Award Honor winner. She is also the author of the picture books Alvin Ailey; Duke Ellington (a Caldecott honor Book and Coretta Scott King Honor Book); and Ella Fitzgerald, each illustrated by her husband and frequent collaborator, Brian Pinkney. She lives with her family in Brooklyn, New York.
Brian Pinkney is the illustrator of many acclaimed books for children, including the Caldecott Honor Books Duke Ellington and The Faithful Friend, and the Coretta Scott King Award winner In the Time of the Drums.
Author and Illustrator Interview:
- Can you describe your process of working together on a book like Step-Stomp Stride?
- What is the best part of writing and illustrating for children? What do you wish all kids knew about book-making?
- Where do you find inspiration?
Have you ever heard of Sojourner Truth before? She was a famous American who lived long ago. What do you think she is remembered for?
- Describe Sojournor. What did she look like? Act like? Say? How would someone describe you?
- What does it mean to be “meant for great things?” What great things are you meant for?
- Why did Sojournor have several names? Who gave her each of the names she had? Which one was most important to her? Why?
- What happened to Belle when she was only nine years old? Why was she considered valuable? How does this make you feel?
- What had John Dumont promised Belle? Did he keep his promise?
- What did Belle decide to do then? When did she finally stop?
- How did the Quaker couple help Belle? What did she do with her new freedom?
- What did freedom mean for Sojournor? What did she decide to do?
- Why couldn’t Sojournor read or write? What was she really good at despite not being able to read?
- What did Olive Gilbert help Sojournor do with her story?
- Do you think Sojournor was brave to speak out against slavery? How did she react to threats?
- How did Sojournor stomp-stomp-stomp all over the stupidity of speeches she heard in Akron, Ohio? What do you think it was like in the church after she step, stomped, strided right out of there?
As you read the story of Sojournor Truth write down at least one fact, one question, and one response (a connection, thought or feeling about what you read) in the following chart and then discuss with your reading partner.
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Pretend that you were in the audience at that church in Akron, Ohio listening to those preachers discuss women’s rights. Write a letter home to someone describing what you heard and saw that important day.
Create a timeline of Sojournor Truth’s life. Have at least five important dates on your timeline and illustrate it with drawings of your own.