FICTION

Carter Reads the Newspaper

illus. by Don Tate. 36p. bibliog. chron. notes. websites. Peachtree. Feb. 2019. Tr $17.95. ISBN 9781561459346.
COPY ISBN
Gr 1–3—A picture book biography about how Carter G. Woodson became known as the "father of Black History" that also highlights the importance of literacy and being an informed citizen. Woodson, a child of formerly enslaved parents, grew up listening to family and friend's stories and reading the newspaper to his father. As a coal miner, he met Oliver Jones, a veteran of the Civil War, who opened his house to other miners and would prompt Woodson to read the newspaper out loud. Hopkinson presents this as a pivotal moment of solidarity, alternative schooling, and a stirring within Woodson to pursue more knowledge about the histories and lives of black people. Tate's mixed media artwork complements these scenes perfectly, communicating camaraderie and inspiration in scenes overlaid backgrounds of newspaper print. After receiving his PhD from Harvard, Woodson created Negro History Week by sending out pamphlets of information to communities around the United States. Hopkinson frames this as a response to one of Carter's professors at Harvard who said that black people had no history. The narrative ends with an image of an older Woodson reading the paper and the reminder that Woodson changed history "and we can too." Thorough back matter, including an author and illustrator's note, and end pages featuring sketches of past and contemporary figures—Hannibal Barca, Edmonia Lewis, Colin Kaepernick—concludes this volume.
VERDICT A charmingly illustrated picture book biography for elementary schoolers.

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