of making friends with words,
setting free the secrets
that lived in books.
Born into slavery, young Booker T. Washington could only dream of learning to read and write. After emancipation, Booker began a five-hundred-mile journey, mostly on foot, to Hampton Institute, taking his first of many steps towards a college degree. When he arrived, he had just fifty cents in his pocket and a dream about to come true. The young slave who once waited outside of the schoolhouse would one day become a legendary educator of freedmen.
Award-winning artist Bryan Collier captures the hardship and the spirit of one of the most inspiring figures in American history, bringing to life Booker T. Washington's journey to learn, to read, and to realize a dream.
The founder of the Tuskegee Institute is portrayed as a boy and young man who never gives up on his dream of an education. Going from illiterate slave to child worker to student, a near-penniless Washington walks an incredible 500 miles to attend school. Collier's (Dave the Potter) sophisticated design elements will have readers revisiting his extraordinary collages. In one, a contemplative Washington sits in a clearing, as ethereal faces and hands representing those who figuratively support him fill the dark brown bark of the trees that literally "stand behind" him. "Booker listened/ and carried their dreams with him." An artist's note points out other symbolic touches (e.g., Booker's shirt is made up of pieces of maps), while author notes and a time line flesh out the rest of Washington's life story, including criticism that labeled him as too willing to compromise in the face of overt racism. Asim's (Boy of Mine) lyrical narrative is succinct yet illustrative, and, combined with the artwork, makes an impressive addition to any biography collection. Ages 3 6.