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Book Review

This historical fiction is part of the " Daughters of the Faith" series by Wendy Lawton and is published by Moody Publishers.

Courage to Run is written for girls ages 8 to 12. The age range reflects readability and not necessarily content appropriateness.

Positive Elements

Spiritual Content

Sexual Content

Violent Content

Crude or Profane Language

Drug and Alcohol Content

Other Negative Elements

Conclusion

Pro-social Content

Objectionable Content

Summary Advisory

Plot Summary

Harriet Tubman's birth name was Araminta Ross (Minty for short), until she was about 13 years of age. (Note: Since slaves didn't mark birthdays, ages were approximate.) For the first six years of her life, Minty led a sheltered childhood within her close-knit family, even though she witnessed the hardships and pain of living in a slave community. Her parents were leaders among the slaves on the Brodas Plantation.

When the plantation owner experienced tough financial times, he began to sell and hire out his slaves. Minty's sheltered existence abruptly changed. Over the next three to four years, her slave owner hired her out to a poor white family who treated her harshly, and then to a rich white family. In the rich family, the wife frequently whipped Minty for little to no reason. The raised scars on Minty's neck and shoulders were remnants of that time. Minty successfully ran away from the wealthy family prior to another whipping. She went downriver but returned on her own because she was not confident that she could survive and make it to the northern states. She vowed then to prepare herself properly so she could run when the time was right.

Once back on the Brodas Plantation with her parents, Minty grew strong and prepared her mind to run away. She also asked others a lot of questions about the Underground Railroad. Because she was small, others underestimated her strength; the plantation owner would win bets with his friends regarding her ability to lift or carry heavy items. When Minty was 13, her mother passed on her own name, Harriet, to Minty, signaling Minty's transition from childhood to adulthood. The story ends with Harriet surviving a nearly fatal head injury. When she returns to consciousness, she believes God has a challenge for her. She prays for God's help and direction.

Christian Beliefs

Minty's family and the slave community on the plantation are Christians. Minty's father is a preacher, and Minty frequently remembers the things her mother sings or says. For example, when Minty goes to work for the first family that she is loaned out to, she says how much she hates the family. But she imagines her mother saying, "Don't you be forgettug Minty, they be Jesus' children same as you." Her mother points out that the slaves' songs are about how they turned from African gods carved out of wood and stone to a living, breathing Jesus.

Other Belief Systems

Minty's mother refers to pagan worship of wooden and stone gods in Africa when describing the songs the slaves sing.

Authority Roles

Minty's parents are authority figures for the slave children, and Minty's father is a leader whom the other slaves look up to. The slave owners, overseers and people who hire out slaves hold authority roles over the slaves; but these people abuse their authority and mistreat the slaves.

Profanity/Violence

The book contains descriptions of the whippings, beatings and other physical abuse of the slaves.

Kissing/Sex/Homosexuality

None

Discussion Topics

If your children have read this book or someone has read it to them, consider these discussion topics:

  • When Minty's owner hires her out, Minty hates her situation, but she doesn't think she will ever be brave enough to run away.
  • Why does Minty think she needed to be brave to run?
  • Describe a time when you were faced with a situation that required courage.
  • What did you do and why?

  • When Minty runs away from the wealthy family, she later returns on her own accord.

  • Why does she return?
  • Did it take more courage to run or to return and why?
  • Do you think you could run away from home, traveling through a couple of states on your own while people are searching for you?

  • Why do slave owners prohibit their slaves from learning to read or swim?

  • What might the slaves have done if they could read?
  • What might the slaves have done if they could swim?

Additional Comments/Notes


Book reviews cover the content, themes and world-views of fiction books, not their literary merit, and equip parents to decide whether a book is appropriate for their children. A book's inclusion does not constitute an endorsement by Focus on the Family.

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