Clean layout and design augment a quality introduction to an important chapter in the history of American education.

SCHOOLS OF HOPE

HOW JULIUS ROSENWALD HELPED CHANGE AFRICAN AMERICAN EDUCATION

Julius Rosenwald, the man responsible for the early-20th-century success of the Sears, Roebuck Co., also improved education for African-Americans who were just decades away from slavery.

The son of German-Jewish immigrants, Rosenwald’s financial prosperity and family upbringing led him first to support Jewish causes and then charities in his hometown of Chicago. Despite differences in religious traditions, he became a supporter of the Young Men’s Christian Association movement. His donation to an African-American YMCA facility and reading of Booker T. Washington’s autobiography, Up from Slavery, began the work for which he is so esteemed: the building of over 5,300 schools, as well as scholarship aid and educational resources, starting in 1913. In the era of “separate but equal,” the pioneering educator’s philosophy of self-help appealed to Rosenwald; indeed his school grants required matching funds and community involvement. Such famous lights as Jacob Lawrence and Charles Drew received support from the Rosenwald Foundation, but countless nameless individuals in the South also benefited from an education that might not have been available without its efforts. This straightforward narrative is substantially supported with many photographs of the period, especially of the schools and the students. Source notes, a bibliography (which could have used a few more titles for the target readership), a list of websites, an index and picture credits add to its authenticity.

Clean layout and design augment a quality introduction to an important chapter in the history of American education. (Nonfiction. 10-16)

Pub Date: April 1, 2014

ISBN: 978-1-59078-841-7

Page Count: 80

Publisher: Calkins Creek/Boyds Mills

Review Posted Online: Feb. 26, 2014

Kirkus Reviews Issue: March 15, 2014

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A standout among writing guides, valuable for its sage and friendly encouragement and for the sheer fun of hanging out with...

WRITING RADAR

USING YOUR JOURNAL TO SNOOP OUT AND CRAFT GREAT STORIES

Advice on writing from one of the best writers around.

“I’m a writer and I’m on your side,” Gantos says, as if he’s putting an arm around a young writer’s shoulder and guiding them through a door to a new life. With a snappy voice, his own funny ink drawings, and expertise drawn from a career full of great books, he covers just about everything: where to find ideas and characters, how to structure a story, why to keep a journal, and even what to write with. Every step of the way he includes examples from his own writing. As humorous as he is, Gantos is authoritative and serious about his craft, careful to include every building block for constructing a good story—characters, setting, problem, action, crisis, resolution, and the need for a double ending (physical and emotional). Chapter 2 (“Getting Started”) ought to be read by all teachers and parents: it’s a manifesto on how to raise a reader (and writer) by reading aloud excellent picture books to young children and placing good books in the hands of children as they get older, and he offers a handy list of just what some of those books should be. While his list of picture books is not a particularly diverse one, the middle-grade titles suggested are nicely inclusive.

A standout among writing guides, valuable for its sage and friendly encouragement and for the sheer fun of hanging out with Jack. (Nonfiction. 10-14)

Pub Date: Aug. 29, 2017

ISBN: 978-0-374-30456-0

Page Count: 224

Publisher: Farrar, Straus and Giroux

Review Posted Online: July 2, 2017

Kirkus Reviews Issue: July 15, 2017

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A biography worthy of the larger-than-life Virginia Hamilton

VIRGINIA HAMILTON

AMERICA’S STORYTELLER

From the Biographies for Young Readers series

If the children you know think biographies are boring, this one will make them reconsider.

The tapestry of words Rubini weaves together brilliantly portrays the amazing, quirky, shy, frog-loving woman and extraordinary writer who was Virginia Hamilton. Since Hamilton constantly dipped into the well of her own family history for book details, Rubini wisely begins several generations back, with Hamilton’s enslaved great-grandmother Mary Cloud, who smuggled her son from Virginia to Ohio and delivered him to free relatives then disappeared. Descended from a long line of storytellers and “plain out-and-out liars,” Hamilton relied heavily on what she called Rememory, “an exquisitely textured recollection, real or imagined, which is otherwise indescribable.” Rubini traces Hamilton’s evolution from aspiring writer to becoming “the most honored author of children’s literature.” Hamilton received award after award and in 1975 became the first African-American winner of the coveted Newbery Medal. (To date, only three other African-Americans have won the Newbery.) Rubini’s biography entertains and informs in equal measure, and because she writes short paragraphs and highlights challenging words, young readers will find this a quick, accessible, and memorable read. Photographs and book covers punctuate the chapters, as do useful explanations of Hamilton’s historical context and impact. Rich backmatter will also make this a useful classroom text.

A biography worthy of the larger-than-life Virginia Hamilton . (Biography. 10-16)

Pub Date: June 15, 2017

ISBN: 978-0-8214-2268-7

Page Count: 152

Publisher: Ohio Univ.

Review Posted Online: June 19, 2017

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