Carter Reads the Newspaper
by Hopkinson, Deborah; Tate, Don (ILT)

From an award-winning team, this first-ever picture book biography of Carter G. Woodson, the father of Black History Month, emphasizes the importance of pursuing curiosity and encouraging a hunger for knowledge of stories and histories that have not been told. Illustrations also feature brief biographical sketches of important figures from African and African American history.

It's easy to take an established practice for granted and forget that someone, sometime, had the original inspiration for it. This picture-book biography tells of Carter G. Woodson, an educator and civil rights leader, who introduced Negro History Week-the precursor of Black History Month-back in 1926. Young readers will be caught up in his story. The youngest of seven children and a child of formerly enslaved people, he became largely self-educated by reading the newspaper out loud to his illiterate father (Woodson eventually went on to receive a PhD from Harvard). Quotes are seamlessly woven into the narrative, and a time line, list of sources, and bibliography add research appeal. Of special note are the illustrations, which include more than 40 portraits of black leaders, either blended into the narrative or appearing on end pages. Notables range from Hannibal Barca, circa 200 BCE, to Michelle and Barack Obama. Their images and one-line biographies will pique further interest, making this a valuable resource for school and public libraries. Grades K-3. Copyright 2018 Booklist Reviews.

This biography of the "father of Black History," Dr. Carter G. Woodson, highlights experiences that shaped his passion. Carter was born after the Civil War, but his parents had been slaves, and he grew up hearing the stories of their lives. With six siblings, Carter experienced lean times as a boy. Carter's father, who couldn't read or write, had Carter read the newspaper aloud. As a teenager, Carter had to work to help his family. In the coal mines, he met Oliver Jones, a Civil War veteran who opened his small home to the other men as a reading room. There, Carter once again took on the role of reader, informing Oliver and his friends of what was in the paper—and then researching to tell them more. After three years in the mines, he moved home to continue his education, eventually earning a Ph.D. from Harvard, where a professor challenged him to prove that his people had a history. In 1926 he established Negro History Week, which later became Black History Month. Hopki nson skillfully shapes Carter's childhood, family history, and formative experiences into a cohesive story. The soft curves and natural palette of Tate's illustrations render potentially scary episodes manageable for young readers, and portraits of historical figures offer an opening to further discovery. The incorporation of newsprint into many page backgrounds artfully echoes the title, and the inclusion of notable figures from black history reinforces the theme (a key is in the backmatter). An important and inspiring tale well told. (author's note, illustrator's note, resources, bibliography) (Picture book/biography. 6-10) Copyright Kirkus 2018 Kirkus/BPI Communications. All rights reserved.

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