Friday, October 18, 2019

Carter Reads the Newspaper

Carter Reads the Newspaper 
by Deborah Hopkinson; illus by Don Tate
36 pages; ages 6-10
Peachtree Publishing, 2019

theme: biography, black history,

Each February we celebrate Black History Month. It’s a time to honor heroes like Harriet Tubman, Rosa Parks, and Martin Luther King, Jr. But there’s one hero we sometimes forget.

That hero is Carter G. Woodson. He didn’t help people escape from slavery. He didn’t protest in the streets or lead bus strikes. Instead, he changed the way people think about history. When told that Black people had no history, Carter was appalled. Of course they did! His parents, born into slavery, had shared their family stories. He listened to stories of Civil War veterans who had fought for their freedom. He read the newspapers and discovered more stories of black men and women – people who were left out of the history books.

So in 1926, Carter began his own fight: to include Black Americans in the history books. He established Negro History Week – which later became Black History Month.

What I like about this book: I always love true stories about empowerment and perseverance. I am drawn to heroes who fight for truth, freedom, and justice. And because I’m a journalist, I’m a bit partial to stories that show the power of information.

I like Don Tate’s illustrations, beginning with the end papers. Open the front and you see sketched portraits of historical Black people: Nat Turner, Phillis Wheatley, Elijah McCoy. Back end pages feature more recent Black Americans: Mae Jemison, Katherine Johnson, Colin Kaepernick.

I like the back matter: resources for learning more, notes from the author and the illustrator, a list of Black leaders pictured throughout the book (with a snippet of bio facts), and a timeline of Carter Woodson’s life and accomplishments.

If you are looking ahead for books to feature this coming February, put this one on your list.

Beyond the Books:

Newspapers provide the first draft of history. So challenge yourself to read the print edition of a local newspaper each week. I read mine at the library.

Ask your parents, grandparents, and great grandparents to share stories of when they were kids. Write your own newsy article about them.

Visit a local history museum, or find a local history book in the library. What was your town like 50 or 100 years ago?

Today we're joining Perfect Picture Book Friday, an event where bloggers share great picture books at Susanna Leonard Hill's website. Review copy provided by the publisher.

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