100 books like General Harriet Tubman

By Earl Conrad,

Here are 100 books that General Harriet Tubman fans have personally recommended if you like General Harriet Tubman. Shepherd is a community of 10,000+ authors and super readers sharing their favorite books with the world.

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Book cover of Just Mercy: A Story of Justice and Redemption

Akwasi Owusu-Bempah and Tahira Rehmatullah Author Of Waiting to Inhale: Cannabis Legalization and the Fight for Racial Justice

From my list on social justice and the need for transformative change.

Who are we?

As a duo, we’re a mix of things. For Akwasi, I’m a changemaker, professor, and academic. My work examines the intersections of race, crime, and criminal justice, and my current research spans criminal justice institutions and various aspects of drug legalization in Canada and beyond. For Tahira, my career has been less than linear, with experiences spanning the investment, cannabis, and consumer sectors as an investor and entrepreneur. I realized my forte lies in sitting in the middle, streamlining complexity, and remaining dedicated to the people who need help most. Together, we’re committed to shaping the future of business and policy by integrating diverse perspectives and lived experiences.

Akwasi and Tahira's book list on social justice and the need for transformative change

Akwasi Owusu-Bempah and Tahira Rehmatullah Why did Akwasi and Tahira love this book?

It’s hard to find nonfiction books that feel a lot like fiction, and we sprinted through this book for that reason.

The author weaves personal narrative and public policy into a web that depicts the very tragic impact of unjust laws and racism.

We read the book after seeing the movie (which is also incredible), and we can say that we were just as impacted and enamored as we were during the film. Maybe even more! 

By Bryan Stevenson,

Why should I read it?

8 authors picked Just Mercy as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

NOW A MAJOR MOTION PICTURE, STARRING MICHAEL B. JORDAN, JAMIE FOXX, AND BRIE LARSON.

A NEW YORK TIMES, WASHINGTON POST, BOSTON GLOBE, ESQUIRE, AND TIME BOOK OF THE YEAR.

A #1 New York Times bestseller, this is a powerful, true story about the potential for mercy to redeem us, and a clarion call to fix America's broken justice system, as seen in the HBO documentary True Justice.

The US has the highest rate of incarceration in the world. One in every 15 people born there today is expected to go to prison. For black men this figure rises to one…


Book cover of How to Be an Antiracist

Artika Tyner Author Of The Untold Story of John P. Parker: Underground Railroad Conductor

From my list on champions for racial justice.

Who am I?

I’m a civil rights attorney, author, and lifelong educator. My work has focused on addressing racial disparities in education and criminal justice. I worked on the Campaign for Prison Phone Justice and created restorative justice programs in schools. As a leadership scholar, I read books on remarkable sheroes and heroes. This provides me with keen insights into the leadership characteristics of changemakers while developing the tools to better understand how to build and sustain social change.

Artika's book list on champions for racial justice

Artika Tyner Why did Artika love this book?

This book is a roadmap on how to be an inclusive leader. It explores the history of race in America through a firsthand account of Dr. Kendi.

In addition, the book explores the interpersonal and intrapersonal dimensions of cultural engagement. By doing so, it offers the tools needed to understand how to challenge your own biases, stereotypes, and prejudices. It also provides the invitation to pause, reflect, and grow by encouraging self-reflection. 

By Ibram X. Kendi,

Why should I read it?

2 authors picked How to Be an Antiracist as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

**THE GLOBAL MILLION-COPY BESTSELLER**

NOT BEING RACIST IS NOT ENOUGH. WE HAVE TO BE ANTIRACIST.

'Transformative and revolutionary' ROBIN DIANGELO, author of White Fragility

'So vital' IJEOMA OLUO, author of So You Want to Talk About Race

In this rousing and deeply empathetic book, Ibram X. Kendi, one of the world's most influential scholars of racism, shows that neutrality is not an option: until we become part of the solution, we can only be part of the problem.

Using his extraordinary gifts as a teacher and story-teller, Kendi helps us recognise that everyone is, at times, complicit in racism whether…


Book cover of Moses: When Harriet Tubman Led Her People to Freedom

Artika Tyner Author Of The Untold Story of John P. Parker: Underground Railroad Conductor

From my list on champions for racial justice.

Who am I?

I’m a civil rights attorney, author, and lifelong educator. My work has focused on addressing racial disparities in education and criminal justice. I worked on the Campaign for Prison Phone Justice and created restorative justice programs in schools. As a leadership scholar, I read books on remarkable sheroes and heroes. This provides me with keen insights into the leadership characteristics of changemakers while developing the tools to better understand how to build and sustain social change.

Artika's book list on champions for racial justice

Artika Tyner Why did Artika love this book?

Moses was her name because she was determined to see her people set free.

Drawing upon the biblical Moses, the book outlines the parallels between the lives of Moses (who led his people to the Promised Land) and Harriet Tubman (who was guided to freedom by the North Star). This book provides children with the inspiration to serve as leaders. They recognize that they too can combine faith and freedom to make a difference in the world.

By Carol Boston Weatherford, Kadir Nelson (illustrator),

Why should I read it?

1 author picked Moses as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

A Caldecott Honor Book
A Coretta Scott King Award Winner

From a highly acclaimed author and bestselling artist comes a resounding, reverent tribute to Harriet Tubman, the woman who earned the name Moses for her heroic role in the Underground Railroad.
 
I set the North Star in the heavens and I mean for you to be free...

Born into slavery, Harriet Tubman hears these words from God one summer night and decides to leave her husband and family behind and escape. Taking with her only her faith, she must creep through woods with hounds at her feet, sleep for days…


Book cover of Aya: An Anthology of Racial Justice, Healing and the Black Experience

Artika Tyner Author Of The Untold Story of John P. Parker: Underground Railroad Conductor

From my list on champions for racial justice.

Who am I?

I’m a civil rights attorney, author, and lifelong educator. My work has focused on addressing racial disparities in education and criminal justice. I worked on the Campaign for Prison Phone Justice and created restorative justice programs in schools. As a leadership scholar, I read books on remarkable sheroes and heroes. This provides me with keen insights into the leadership characteristics of changemakers while developing the tools to better understand how to build and sustain social change.

Artika's book list on champions for racial justice

Artika Tyner Why did Artika love this book?

This book is written by Minnesota youth after the murder of Mr. George Floyd.

As the nation faced the dual pandemic of the novel COVID-19 and racial reckoning, our youth needed a sacred space to pause, reflect, and heal. Through community writing workshops, youth developed the tools to write for justice. Their stories reflect their vision for building a more just and inclusive society.

By Artika Tyner,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked Aya as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

Aya is an anthology produced by Black Minnesota voices. Youth and community activists shared their reflections on justice and healing. This 2022 publication is its inaugural edition.

Aya Anthology was created to ignite change in the furtherance of racial justice. It serves as an invitation to lead and serve in the community.


Book cover of Harriet Tubman: The Road to Freedom

Helen Lundström Erwin Author Of Sour Milk in Sheep's Wool

From my list on historical fiction on women who changed history.

Who am I?

I love to write stories about people who lived during pivotal times in history. I’m intrigued by what people were thinking and why they thought that way. People, just like us now, were a product of their time and circumstance. They had strong opinions about the issues of the day, and debated fiercely. It’s these conversations and opinions that help me make the past come alive. Being born and raised in Sweden, and having been a New Yorker for thirty years, I was awarded the 2021 Swedish Women’s Educational Association (SWEA) New York’s Scholarship for the artistic promotion of Swedish culture and history in New York.

Helen's book list on historical fiction on women who changed history

Helen Lundström Erwin Why did Helen love this book?

This non-fiction book is giving Harriet Tubman the recognition she deserves. She was a hero in the true sense, who lived a life of service to others, and truly helped change the world. We have all heard of her, but few know who she really was, how much she did, and how incredibly brave she was.

Sometimes when I’m having a hard time, I think of how much she did all by herself, literally walking alone into enemy territory to save others, and leading an army of men. I could never compare myself to her, but thinking of her inspires me and gives me courage. 

By Catherine Clinton,

Why should I read it?

2 authors picked Harriet Tubman as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

One of the most important and enduring figures in the history of 19th century America, the legendary conductor on the Underground Railroad whose courageous exploits have been described in countless books for young readers, is here revealed for the first time as a singular and complex character, a woman who defied simple categorisation. |In this, the first major biography of Harriet Tubman in more than 100 years, we see the heroine of children's books and biopics with a new clarity and richness of detail.| - Time


Book cover of The Search for the Underground Railroad in Upstate New York

Jonathan T. Jefferson Author Of Echoes from the Farm

From my list on rural life in upstate New York.

Who am I?

Born in 1969 as the seventh of eight children to two Harlem-raised parents, I benefited from both the inner-city life of Queens, New York and childhood summers spent on a farm in rural upstate New York. Academic, professional, and physical accomplishments have punctuated my life. An adventurer by nature, I became the first African American to hike to the top of every mountain in the northeast US over 4,000' (115 of them) by September of 2000. At that time, less than 400 people had accomplished this feat; whereas thousands have scaled Mount Everest. My home city’s iconic landmarks create a psychological veil that blinds people to the vast open spaces that dominate New York State. 

Jonathan's book list on rural life in upstate New York

Jonathan T. Jefferson Why did Jonathan love this book?

This well-researched book presents a balanced account of the true heroism performed by escaped slaves, church abolishionists, anti-slavery societies, and vigilance committees to free their fellow citizens. Myths related to tunnels, quilts, and yard statues are explained, as well as the legendary contributions of John Brown and Harriet Tubman. My life’s travels have unknowingly placed me on the path of the underground railroad countless times. From shopping with my family as a child in Ogdensburg where African Americans crossed the St. Lawrence River into Canada to have owned properties in Essex, Clinton, and Franklin Counties along the trails to liberation.  

By Tom Calarco,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked The Search for the Underground Railroad in Upstate New York as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

A historian investigates evidence for the existence of the Underground Railroad in upstate New York.

Because of its clandestine nature, much of the history of the Underground Railroad remains shrouded in secrecy—so much so that some historians have even doubted its importance. After decades of research, Tom Calarco recounts his experiences compiling evidence to give credence to the legend’s oral history in upstate New York.

As the Civil War loomed and politicians from the North and South debated the fate of slavery, brave New Yorkers risked their lives to help fugitive slaves escape bondage. Whites and Blacks alike worked together…


Book cover of Before She Was Harriet

Aimee Bissonette Author Of Headstrong Hallie!: The Story of Hallie Morse Daggett, the First Female Fire Guard

From my list on brave and extraordinary women.

Who am I?

I am drawn to stories of women who display a fighting spirit, faith in themselves, and the drive to help others. Perhaps this is due to growing up during the women’s rights movement. So many women paved the way for me. Perhaps it was my upbringing. I was raised with six siblings - three brothers and three sisters – and my parents never thought that my sisters and I couldn’t do something just because we were girls. Combine these experiences with the fact that I love history and you can see why I love these stories. Now I get to write and share stories like these with young readers. Lucky me!

Aimee's book list on brave and extraordinary women

Aimee Bissonette Why did Aimee love this book?

Did I save the best for last? I may have (although I recommend all of these books). This book appeals to me on so many levels. First, it tells the story of an important woman of history who was dauntless in her mission to help others to safety and freedom. Second, the dreamy, lyrical narrative is so different from how so many picture book biographies are written, yet incredibly effective. Third, the art is amazing – especially in its depiction of Harriet as an old woman when her strength was still so evident. And fourth, the story is told in reverse chronology. What a great decision! I use this book often when I teach about nonfiction picture book writing because of this creative approach. Hands down. I love this book.

By Lesa Cline-Ransome, James E. Ransome (illustrator),

Why should I read it?

1 author picked Before She Was Harriet as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it. This book is for kids age 4, 5, 6, and 7.

What is this book about?

An evocative poem and stunning watercolors come together to honor an American heroine in a Coretta Scott King Honor and Christopher Award-winning picture book.

We know her today as Harriet Tubman, but in her lifetime she was called by many names. As General Tubman she was a Union spy. As Moses she led hundreds to freedom on the Underground Railroad. As Minty she was a slave whose spirit could not be broken. As Araminta she was a young girl whose father showed her the stars and the first steps on the path to freedom.

This lush, lyrical biography in verse…


Book cover of Seedlip and Sweet Apple: Poems

DeMisty D. Bellinger Author Of Peculiar Heritage

From my list on poetry inspired by history.

Who am I?

I care about social justice, equality, and history, as well as beauty and art. As an African-American woman who was raised working class and who understands how history informs the present, I have fallen in love with the depiction of history in poetry and prose. Not all of my writing has something to do with race or gender or class, but all of my writing is about justice in some way. I want to get to the good of people.

DeMisty's book list on poetry inspired by history

DeMisty D. Bellinger Why did DeMisty love this book?

This is a biography of Mother Ann Lee, the woman who brought the Shaker Religion to Colonial America. Extensively researched and beautifully rendered, these poems grab you and bring you into eighteenth-century England and New England. It is also a celebration of motherhood, love, death, and grief, as well as of an early American woman in leadership. Sometimes deceptively soft, the movement and violence of Colonial America will snap the reader forward, inviting us to question our past.

I revisited Ross’ book when writing about historical figures, mostly real. In my book, I looked at some historical figures, including Tituba and Harriet Tubman, and found reading Seedlip and Sweet Apple a good primer in writing historical poetry.

By Arra Lynn Ross,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked Seedlip and Sweet Apple as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

Seamlessly bridging the material and spiritual worlds, Seedlip and Sweet Apple takes the reader into the mind of a true visionary: Mother Ann Lee, the founder of the Shaker religion in colonial America. With astonishingly original poems inspired by extensive historical research, Arra Lynn Ross creates a collection linked thematically through the voice and story of the woman who was believed by her followers to be Christ incarnate. Broadly and inclusively spiritual, this remarkable debut captures the ineffable experience of ecstatic vision, activating the progression from literal reality to heightened perception. Simultaneously, this journey delves into the manifold issues of…


Book cover of Mrs. Lincoln: A Life

Susan Higginbotham Author Of The First Lady and the Rebel

From my list on First Lady Mary Lincoln.

Who am I?

I write historical fiction about real-life characters, some relatively obscure, some very well known. One of my main goals is to avoid the stereotypes, myths, and misconceptions that have gathered around historical figures. At the same time, I strive to remain true to known historical facts and to the mores of the times in which my characters lived. I use both primary sources—letters, newspapers, diaries, wills, and so forth—and modern historical research to bring my characters to life.

Susan's book list on First Lady Mary Lincoln

Susan Higginbotham Why did Susan love this book?

While Mary Lincoln (although we often call her "Mary Todd Lincoln," she preferred "Mary Lincoln," "Mrs. Abraham Lincoln," or the unassuming "Mrs. A. Lincoln") has been the subject of several biographies, this is my favorite, and one which I always used as my first resource when checking a fact or looking for a reference about Mary Lincoln. It's readable, well-sourced, and sympathetic toward its subject without veering into hagiography or being overly indulgent of Mary's foibles.

By Catherine Clinton,

Why should I read it?

2 authors picked Mrs. Lincoln as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

“This engaging, wonderfully written narrative provides fresh insight into this complex woman. It is a triumph.” —Doris Kearns Goodwin

Catherine Clinton, author of the award-winning Harriet Tubman: The Road to Freedom, returns with Mrs. Lincoln, the first new biography in almost 20 years of Mary Todd Lincoln, one of the most enigmatic First Ladies in American history. Called “fascinating” by Ken Burns and “spirited and fast-paced” by the Boston Globe, Mrs. Lincoln is a meticulously researched and long overdue addition to the historical record. In the words of Pulitzer-Prize winning historian Joseph Ellis, Mrs. Lincoln “is distinctive for its abiding…


Book cover of You'll Never Believe What Happened to Lacey: Crazy Stories about Racism

Ginny Hogan Author Of I'm More Dateable Than a Plate of Refried Beans: And Other Romantic Observations

From my list on humor to make you laugh out loud.

Who am I?

I’m a humor writer and stand-up comedian. I spend much of my time trying to get my comedy into the shortest form possible so it can “go viral,” but I’d rather work on projects that have space to breathe, like books. I don’t think enough people appreciate how funny books can be. Often, humor seems like the purview of more visual mediums. However, while books are quieter than TV shows and live performances, they have just as much capacity for humor. When a book truly makes me laugh out loud, I want to tell everyone. And the following five books do.

Ginny's book list on humor to make you laugh out loud

Ginny Hogan Why did Ginny love this book?

This book covers a serious subject matter with levity and warmth. Ruffin and Lamar take the reader on a tour of racist incidents in their lives. While the severity is clear, it’s also clear they want the reader to learn. I found the book eye-opening and insightful, and I’d recommend it to anyone.

By Amber Ruffin, Lacey Lamar,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked You'll Never Believe What Happened to Lacey as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

*A NEW YORK TIMES BESTSELLER AND INDIE NEXT PICK*

Writer and performer on Late Night with Seth Meyers Amber Ruffin writes with her sister Lacey Lamar with humor and heart to share absurd anecdotes about everyday experiences of racism.

Now a writer and performer on Late Night with Seth Meyers and host of The Amber Ruffin Show, Amber Ruffin lives in New York, where she is no one's First Black Friend and everyone is, as she puts it, "stark raving normal." But Amber's sister Lacey? She's still living in their home state of Nebraska, and trust us, you'll never believe…


5 book lists we think you will like!

Interested in Harriet Tubman, the Union Army, and the Underground Railroad?

10,000+ authors have recommended their favorite books and what they love about them. Browse their picks for the best books about Harriet Tubman, the Union Army, and the Underground Railroad.

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