From celebrated author Gary D. Schmidt comes a picture book biography of a giant in the struggle for civil rights, perfectly pitched for readers today.
Sojourner Truth was born into slavery but possessed a mind and a vision that knew no bounds. So Tall Within traces her life from her painful childhood through her remarkable emancipation to her incredible leadership in the movement for rights for both women and African Americans. Her story is told with lyricism and pathos by Gary D. Schmidt, one of the most celebrated writers for children in the twenty-first century, and brought to life by award winning and fine artist Daniel Minter. This combination of talent is just right for introducing this legendary figure to a new generation of children.
About the Author
Gary D. Schmidt is a professor of English at Calvin College in Grand Rapids, Michigan. He received both a Newbery Honor and a Printz Honor for Lizzie Bright and the Buckminster Boy and a Newbery Honor for The Wednesday Wars. He lives with his family on a 150-year-old farm in Alto, Michigan, where he splits wood, plants gardens, writes, and feeds the wild cats that drop by.
Daniel Minter is a multidisciplinary artist working across different mediums. He is a painter and sculptor who is an illustrator at heart. His work is often symbolic and explores broad concepts that are linked to social justice issues, often while weaving in spiritual themes from the African diaspora. “There are difficult stories to tell that are easy to not talk about. Many involve racism, displacement, and bias historically experienced by most people of African descent,” Minter says. “Artwork can provide a starting point for looking deeper, by first inspiring the emotional response to the aesthetics.” Minter has illustrated many children’s books, including Ellen’s Broom, which won a Coretta Scott King Illustration Honor. He’s drawn to children’s books because they allow him to insert something of his own story in the artwork. “It is important that children sometimes see characters that look like them and characters that look different from them in the books they read,” says Minter. He cofounded and created the bas-relief sculptures that mark the Portland Freedom Trail, a self-guided walking tour of notable sites related to the Underground Railroad and abolitionist movement. “The work I do is my way of making sense of the world through the lens of my people,” Minter says. “The work is also a way of engaging the community and giving them a window to understanding who I am enough to see that my work also carries a reflection of them.”
2018 Chicago Public Library Best of the Best Informational Books for Young Readers
2019 NCSS and CBC's Notable Social Studies Trade Books for Young People, Kindergarten to Second Grade readers
2019 ALSC's Notable Children's Books for Middle Readers
2020 Rise: A Feminist Book Project List
"Powerful, moving, necessary." - Kirkus, Starred Review
"A soaring poetic tribute to a human rights champion." - Publishers Weekly, Starred Review
"A lyrical and evocative approach to [Sojourner Truth's] story." - School Library Journal
"Schmidt’s fluid prose is nicely suited to reading aloud to primary-grade audiences, but Minter’s arresting artwork extends the age range... Even picture-book collections in which [Sojourner Truth] is well represented will surely make space for this engrossing work." - Bulletin of the Center for Children's Books
"A stirring introduction to an extraordinary life - Daniel Minter's paintings, in saturated tones of midnight blues and leaf browns and golds, bring it powerfully to life." - The New York Times Book Review