We interrupt the “What I’m Reading Now” series to post this thank you to the artist and writer who helped to usher in the new edition of Harriet Tubman Conductor on the Underground Railroad. It is addressed to artist Kadir Nelson and writer Jason Reynolds.
The new edition of Harriet Tubman Conductor on the Underground Railroad arrived today. After I gasped for joy, I cried — because of the glorious image on the cover and because Mother and Mrs. Tubman are not here to appreciate it. Then a voice said, “The ancestors know.”
Your contributions are doubly appreciated. Of all of Mother’s works, I considered Harriet Tubman “my” book. It was the first one she wrote after I was born, so it has been part of my life since I was a small girl. She dedicated it to me. In short order it became and has remained the most popular of everything she wrote, reissued and excerpted.
Kadir, when I learned that you were to create the cover art, it was clear that Mother and Mrs. Tubman would approve. Your Eustace Tilley was already my favorite — on the cover of a magazine that my parents read faithfully until their deaths. Your Obama portrait joins my list of favorite works of art. It is at once heartbreaking and uplifting, more so all these months later.
Jason, I confess that YA works are not top of mind these days, but when I mentioned your name to a librarian friend, she raved, saying that your writing was stellar and that your target audience adored your books. I nabbed All American Boys, the only title available and concur wholeheartedly with my friend’s assessment. Your foreword to Harriet Tubman, with your personal story of discovery adds much to the global message of Mrs. Tubman’s struggle and victory.
Thank you both for giving new and meaningful life to “my” book.