Featured books by James Ransome

Gunner, Football Hero

Gunner, Football Hero

By: James Ransome
Age Level: 3-6
Reading Level: Beginning Reader
Genre: Fiction

Short and round, Gunner Smith didn't look like a football player but he practiced hard enough to make third-string quarterback on his town's Pee Wee team. Gunner gets his chance to use his arm in the championship game in this bright tale with a surprise ending.

New Red Bike!

New Red Bike!

By: James Ransome
Age Level: 3-6
Reading Level: Beginning Reader
Genre: Fiction

Tom rides his new red bike to his friend's house but the bike disappears when he knocks at Sam's door. Sam has taken it for a spin, much to Tom's irritation. Expressive illustrations and minimal text depict the friendship, chagrin, and ultimate resolution in a satisfying saga.

Books illustrated by James Ransome

Aunt Flossie's Hats (and Crab Cakes Later)

By: Elizabeth Fitzgerald Howard
Illustrated by: James Ransome
Age Level: 3-6
Reading Level: Beginning Reader
Genre: Fiction

When they visit their favorite relative, Aunt Flossie, Sara and Susan enjoy her collection of hats and their many stories as they share tea, cookies, and crab cakes.

Be a King: Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.’s Dream and You

Be a King: Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.’s Dream and You

By: Carole Boston Weatherford
Illustrated by: James Ransome
Age Level: 6-9
Reading Level: Independent Reader
Genre: Nonfiction

Young readers are called to action, because it is possible that “You can be a King” in small everyday ways. Brief, recognizable scenes and sophisticated ideas are realistically interspersed with simpler, child-like classroom goings-on to bring the concept closer to familiar experiences. The result is a lyrical book just right to launch discussions.

Before She Was Harriet

Before She Was Harriet

By: Lesa Cline-Ransome
Illustrated by: James Ransome
Age Level: 6-9
Reading Level: Independent Reader
Genre: Nonfiction, Biography

“Here she sits/an old woman/tired and worm/her legs still/her back achy … but before wrinkles formed” she was a young woman who could walk for miles, worked for women’s right to vote and much, much more. This unique and touching introduction to Harriet Tubman is lovingly revealed and handsomely illustrated.

Bruh Rabbit and the Tar Baby Girl

Bruh Rabbit and the Tar Baby Girl

By: Virginia Hamilton
Illustrated by: James Ransome
Age Level: 3-6
Reading Level: Beginning Reader
Genre: Fiction, Fairytales, Folk Tales, and Tall Tales

Bruh Rabbit outwits farmer Bruh Wolf again — even after the shrewd hare is stuck fast to the pretty baby girl made of tar. Told in the cadence of the Gullah with full-color illustrations, this version is sure to delight readers and listeners of all ages.

Freedom's School

Freedom's School

By: Lesa Cline-Ransome
Illustrated by: James Ransome
Age Level: 6-9
Reading Level: Independent Reader
Genre: Fiction, Historical Fiction

For Rosa and her family, Emancipation means education and schooling. The child's narration accompanied by richly hued illustrations, reveals the strength in community and the power of learning in the face of adversity and opposition in a post-Civil War South.

Gridiron: Stories from 100 Years of the National Football League

Gridiron: Stories from 100 Years of the National Football League

By: Fred Bowen
Illustrated by: James Ransome
Age Level: 9-12
Reading Level: Independent Reader
Genre: Nonfiction

Stories from the NFL’s long history intertwine with American history in this handsome and accessible examination of the sport. Captured in a conversational tone and dramatic illustrations this well-organized volume is sure to intrigue sports fans.

How Many Stars in the Sky?

How Many Stars in the Sky?

By: Lenny Hort
Illustrated by: James Ransome
Age Level: 3-6
Reading Level: Beginning Reader
Genre: Fiction

When a boy can't sleep, he and his father drive out to the country, away from the city lights. There they try to count the stars. Lush paintings show the warmth of the evening and the loving relationship between father and son.

It Is the Wind

It Is the Wind

By: Ferida Wolff
Illustrated by: James Ransome
Age Level: 6-9
Reading Level: Independent Reader
Genre: Poetry

As he sits on the edge of his bed and peers out the window, a young boy wonders what is making the noise outside as he tries to sleep. It could be a cow and her calf, or many other things on the farm, but ultimately, the child sleeps; only the reader realizes it is a cat that has created the noise. Poetic text and luminous illustrations present a graceful story.

Major Taylor, Champion Cyclist

Major Taylor, Champion Cyclist

By: Lesa Cline-Ransome
Illustrated by: James Ransome
Age Level: 6-9
Reading Level: Independent Reader
Genre: Nonfiction, Biography

Marshall Taylor’s bike stunts get him a job at the famous Indiana bike shop Hay and Willits. But he’s meant for even bigger things — namely the 1899 World Cycling championship — where his skin color attracts as much attention as his domination on the racetrack.

My Name Is Truth: The Life of Sojourner Truth

My Name Is Truth: The Life of Sojourner Truth

By: Ann Turner
Illustrated by: James Ransome
Age Level: 6-9
Reading Level: Independent Reader
Genre: Nonfiction, Biography

Isabella Baumfree was born into slavery but she would not remain enslaved. Instead, she took the name Sojourner Truth and a famous orator for the abolition of slavery and for women's rights. Sojourner's words swirl throughout deeply colored pages of expressive illustrations.

Sweet Clara and the Freedom Quilt

Sweet Clara and the Freedom Quilt

By: Deborah Hopkinson
Illustrated by: James Ransome
Age Level: 6-9
Reading Level: Independent Reader
Genre: Fiction, Historical Fiction

Clara is born into slavery but learns an important skill when she becomes a seamstress. Her quilting ability allows Clara to put together directions to escape north to freedom when she overhears a conversation about a route to Canada.

This Is the Rope: A Story from the Great Migration

This Is the Rope: A Story from the Great Migration

By: Jacqueline Woodson
Illustrated by: James Ransome
Age Level: 6-9
Reading Level: Independent Reader
Genre: Fiction

The story of one family’s journey north during the Great Migration starts with a little girl in South Carolina who finds a rope under a tree one summer. She has no idea the rope will become part of her family’s history.

Under the Quilt of Night

Under the Quilt of Night

By: Deborah Hopkinson
Illustrated by: James Ransome
Age Level: 6-9
Reading Level: Independent Reader

An enslaved family escapes bondage via the Underground Railroad. Tension builds as they are travel, hide, and are almost discovered in both text and darkly hued, dramatic paintings. The young narrator’s hopes soar with the brilliant sunrise.

Visiting Day

Visiting Day

By: Jacqueline Woodson
Illustrated by: James Ransome
Age Level: 6-9
Reading Level: Independent Reader
Genre: Fiction

A girl and her grandmother prepare to visit the girl's father by packing a big lunch then boarding a bus. The joyful reunion takes place in a prison, emphasizing the love between a father and his daughter. Notes from both the author and illustrator complete this book.

What Lincoln Said

What Lincoln Said

By: Sarah Thomson
Illustrated by: James Ransome
Age Level: 6-9
Reading Level: Independent Reader
Genre: Nonfiction, Biography

Lincoln's own words punctuate this overview of his life and times including lighter moments. Full color illustrations exaggerate Lincoln's physical features but complement the man's complexity.

When Grandmama Sings

When Grandmama Sings

By: Margaree King Mitchell
Illustrated by: James Ransome
Age Level: 6-9
Reading Level: Independent Reader
Genre: Fiction, Historical Fiction

Belle goes with her talented grandmother on a singing tour during a time of racial segregation in the south in the 1950s. Grandmama decides to continue performing up north "where things were a little easier for black people." Realistic watercolors help define the setting.

Words Set Me Free: The Story of Young Frederick Douglass

Words Set Me Free: The Story of Young Frederick Douglass

By: Lesa Cline-Ransome
Illustrated by: James Ransome
Age Level: 6-9
Reading Level: Independent Reader
Genre: Nonfiction, Biography

A young Frederick Douglass narrates this handsome, moving, and authentic story of his early life as a slave, his desire to learn, and plans to escape slavery. The child who grew up to be an abolitionist, memorable writer, and orator knew that words — reading — would set him free.

Your Move

Your Move

By: Eve Bunting
Illustrated by: James Ransome
Age Level: 6-9
Reading Level: Independent Reader
Genre: Fiction

Ten-year-old James is intrigued by the K-Bones, a local gang, and considers joining. But when his six-year-old brother witnesses him vandalize a sign, he begins to have second thoughts. A tough topic is handled in a brief but effective way, sure to launch discussion.

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"You may have tangible wealth untold. Caskets of jewels and coffers of gold. Richer than I you can never be — I had a mother who read to me." — Strickland Gillilan