Review: She Came to Slay by Erica Armstrong Dunbar

She Came to Slay by Erica Armstrong Dunbar

She Came to Slay: The Life and Times of Harriet Tubman
Erica Armstrong Dunbar
37 Ink
Published November 5, 2019

Amazon | Bookshop | Goodreads

About She Came to Slay

Harriet Tubman is best known as one of the most famous conductors on the Underground Railroad. As a leading abolitionist, her bravery and selflessness has inspired generations in the continuing struggle for civil rights. Now, National Book Award nominee Erica Armstrong Dunbar presents a fresh take on this American icon blending traditional biography, illustrations, photos, and engaging sidebars that illuminate the life of Tubman as never before.

Not only did Tubman help liberate hundreds of slaves, she was the first woman to lead an armed expedition during the Civil War, worked as a spy for the Union Army, was a fierce suffragist, and was an advocate for the aged. She Came to Slay reveals the many complexities and varied accomplishments of one of our nation’s true heroes and offers an accessible and modern interpretation of Tubman’s life that is both informative and engaging.

Filled with rare outtakes of commentary, an expansive timeline of Tubman’s life, photos (both new and those in public domain), commissioned illustrations, and sections including “Harriet By the Numbers” (number of times she went back down south, approximately how many people she rescued, the bounty on her head) and “Harriet’s Homies” (those who supported her over the years), She Came to Slay is a stunning and powerful mix of pop culture and scholarship and proves that Harriet Tubman is well deserving of her permanent place in our nation’s history.

In the bestselling tradition of The Notorious RBG comes a lively, informative, and illustrated tribute to one of the most exceptional women in American history—Harriet Tubman—a heroine whose fearlessness and activism still resonates today.

She Came to Slay on Goodreads

My Review

After I got my first dose of the COVID-19 vaccine (in April), I stopped at the bookstore to browse. One of the books I picked up was this one. I’d been thinking about the movie Harriet and how surprised I was to learn that she’d led a military expedition during the Civil War and worked as a Union spy. It really struck me that we should have learned that stuff in our history class in school. And it made me want to learn more about Harriet Tubman’s life.

So while I was browsing through the bookstore, I noticed this book, and decided to buy it. I was looking at it at home and decided to skim the first few pages just to see what the writing was like.

It only took a line or two and I was completely hooked. The writing is really conversational, so it feels like really easy reading. I don’t think it’s specifically marketed for young readers, but looking at the graphics and writing style, I think it’s perfect for middle and high school students.

SHE CAME TO SLAY has a great balance between the conversational writing and really informative content. I felt like I learned so much about Harriet Tubman’s life and what she experienced. I think it helped give me more perspective on the Civil War as well.

She Came to Slay on Bookshop

Content Notes

Recommended for Ages 10 up.

Representation
The book focuses on Harriet Tubman’s life and family.

Profanity/Crude Language Content
None.

Romance/Sexual Content
Harriet is married twice.

Spiritual Content
Harriet is a devout Christian and believes that she has visions sent to her by God.

Violent Content
Brief descriptions of torture and war injuries. Brief reference to the fact that women were raped as slaves.

Drug Content
Mothers fleeing with Harriet give their babies a drug that makes them sleepy and suppresses their appetite.

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About Kasey Giard

I'm a mama, reader, and writer. Passionate about peppermint (it's not just for Christmas, okay?!), fly fishing, and movie night.

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