Friday, November 15, 2013

Courage to Run

Courage to Run by Wendy Lawton is the inspiring and suspense-filled story of Harriet Tubman, the young African-American girl born a slave on a plantation in Maryland during the 1800s. 

In this account of Harriet's difficult childhood, during which she was repeatedly beaten and abused, the reader will learn of the enormous struggles endured by slaves during that abominable time in our nation's history.  Harriet's is a story of courage and profound faith in God. It is also the story of a child who discerns God's calling on her life as He prepares her to lead over 300 slaves to freedom via the Underground Railroad.

What I Like: I like the way the author has interspersed fiction with non-fiction in recounting Harriet Tubman's story. While the narrative is founded on solid historical fact, author Wendy Lawton successfully uses fictional techniques to bring the story to life.  

What I like most about this book is that it reveals what God can do in and through a heart totally submitted to Him. Harriet could have become bitter as a result of the cruelty with which she was treated as a child. Instead, she chose to trust God and to allow Him to make her a vessel of honor that He would use to lead people to freedom. Captivated at a young age by the vision of Moses leading God's people to the Promised Land, Harriet embraced this vision and applied it to her own life and her own people. As a result, she became the "Moses" of the Civil War, leading over 300 out of slavery's bondage into the promised land of freedom.

Children who read this book will learn about God's faithfulness during difficult times. They will learn that God's ways are higher than our ways and that all things work together for the good of those who love and trust God.
What I Dislike: I had some concern about the somewhat graphic descriptions of the beatings endured by Harriet. Depending on the reader's sensitivity level, these graphic descriptions could be troubling. At the same time, they serve to add much needed credibility to a period in our nation's history whose horrors must not be minimized. I would suggest that parents or guardians read the book first to determine age appropriateness for children in their care.
Overall Rating: Excellent
Age Appeal: 8-12
Publisher Info: Moody Publishers, 2009; ISBN: 978-0-8024-4098-3; Paper, 140 pgs, $6.99.

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