Robert Smalls was born a slave in South Carolina in 1839. Robert’s owner sent him to Charleston work. He waited tables, made deliveries, loaded and unloaded the cargo from ships – and all of the money he earned went to his master. What Robert could keep, was what he learned working on the docks. He eventually became a wheelman – the person who steers a boat. One night, Robert and his crew – all of them slaves – sneak their families aboard the ship Planter, stealing the ship and sailing North towards freedom. This is the story of an extraordinary man, a man who eventually bought his master’s plantation and was elected to the United States Congress in 1875! Author: Janet Halfmann Illustrator: Duane Smith
This reads more like a story than like a timeline of George Washington Carver’s Life. I liked the way the author told about what was going on around Mr. Carver at the times he made important decisions about himself. He did some really interesting things, but the road to how he got there is even MORE interesting. In this book you hear about his family, friends and co-workers, other African-Americans scientists and educators whose presence and thoughts influenced him. These people are characters in his life story, because to understand him, it’s good to understand everything and everone around him. I would read this one for fun – not just for homework. Author & Illustrator: Cheryl Harness
I told you about this book a few months ago already, but since it just won the Coretta Scott King Award, I thought I would show it to you again. It is great words and great pictures together -the perfect book!
I’m not really into baseball very much and I loved this book! It is the story of Negro League baseball. Did you know that there was a league in the 1920s, 1930s and 1940s for African-American players because they were not allowed to play in the Major Leagues? This book is the story of those players and the league they made great that only came to an end when Jackie Robinson broke the color barrier in Major League baseball. The story is told like you are listening to an old player remember. The narrator tells about how the league was formed, who the owners, managers and players were…but more. The narrator doesn’t just list the facts. There are many sad, surprising, horrifying, funny & interesting stories about the players and what they endured to play baseball. On top of that, the pictures in the book are astounding! The author/artist, Kadir Nelson, did a lot of reasearch to get the ballparks and players, uniforms and other details just right. It is like looking at painted photos from someone who was actually there. This is a good one. Don’t miss it. Author: Kadir Nelson
Negro League Baseball: theIndianapolis Clowns (And who played for them? None other than Hank Aaron…who writes a great foreword to this book. Aaron says, “I know that I wouldn’t have made it in baseball had these legends not paved the way for me.”
David Macaulay is the guy who wrote and illustrated The Way Things Work – the book that explains how all the machines we use work, like telephones and televisions and computers and cars. This time, his book is about how the human body works, like how the heart pumps blood, how digestion works, how our arms and legs move and how the body fights infections. It is full of his usual illustrations that show every detail of every part. His writing and pictures help make hard things easier to understand. Author: David Macaulay
In the 1970s “The Undersea World of Jacques Cousteau” was a regular television show watched by a lot of people. Jacques Cousteau was the host of the show – an adventurer, explorer and teacher who took his boat called the Calypso all over the world filming amazing underwater creatures to show the rest of us. Jacques was like Steve Irwin, the Crocodile Hunter, but without all the “Crikey!” and alligator wrestling.
This book is the story of Jacques life as an adventurer and inventor. He helped develop the aqua lung – the tank that allows people to breath underwater. Jacques’s message about keeping the ocean clean and protecting ocean creatures was way ahead of everyone else. Jacques was green before being green was cool! Author: Jennifer Berne Illustrator: Éric Puybaret