Words Set Me Free

The Story of Young Frederick Douglass

This post is part of Nonfiction Monday 
hosted today by Jean Little Library
and joins It's Monday! What are you reading? at Teacher Mentor Texts
(pub. 1.3.2012) 32 pages 

A True Tale with A Cherry On Top

     and Illustrator:  James Ransome

haracter: Frederick Douglass

O verview from the jacket flap: 

      "Born to a slave mother and a father he never knew, Frederick Bailey had few prospects as a six-year-old boy in Maryland in the 1820s. The turn of his fate was the kindness of Missus Auld, the wife of his master. She took the time and care to teach young Frederick first his letters and then how to read them. Opening doors he could not have even imagined, words set young Frederick free.
       What life held for Frederick was to change the world - Frederick changed his name to Frederick Douglass and became one of the first leaders of the antislavery movement. Based on Frederick Douglass' own Narrative of the Life of Frederick Douglass, this is the inspiring story of the power of the individual."
T antalizing taste: 

   "I may not have known how to read, but I knew that if learning made me no longer want to be a slave, then I would secure my freedom one letter at a time...
    With a brick and a lump of chalk was first how I practiced my letters. Scratched them all along the bricked streets and wooden fences of Baltimore. P looked like a sail on one of the ships, L was a leg with a big foot. Two sticks crossed in the middle, that was X."
and something more: Lesa Cline-Ransome includes a wonderful tribute to libraries in the dedication of this book: "Thanks to all of the libraries - Malden Public Library, New York Public Library, Adriance Memorial Library, and Starr Library - that have opened my world to words and books and freedom."
     And, on Lesa Cline-Ransome's website, she writes about her mother and early influential trips to the library: "I consider myself very lucky to have grown up with a mother who loved to read. Each week my mom would take me with her to our local library so that she could stock up on books. As I grew older I would venture off into the children’s section and gather up on my own collection to check out. Through my mother I realized that reading could become a wonderful escape and writing even more so."
     I too was very fortunate to have a mother who often took me to the library and shared her love of reading with me. Here's to libraries and librarians and people in our lives who share with us their love of books and reading!


Myra Garces-Bacsal from GatheringBooks said...

Hi there Jeanne! Another fantastic picture book biography! I always get the most excellent recommendations and book titles from you. Would look for this one. We're doing a book about books theme for September/October, this seems like the perfect title to include as well as it speaks of the love for reading and books. Thanks again for the recommendation and your unique way of reviewing it! :)

Jeff Barger said...

I don't have a picture book about Frederick Douglass. I need to find this. Thanks for reviewing it, Jeanne!

Jeanne Walker Harvey said...

You're most welcome!

Jeanne Walker Harvey said...

Hi Myra! Oh, thanks so much for your kind words. Yes, I think this book will be perfect for your book theme. And I love your different themes -- such a nice way to think about books.

shelf-employed said...

I'll keep an eye out for this one, Jeanne. There have been several great picture book bios this year. I always enjoy them. And of course, I love the librarian "shout out." Lisa

Jeanne Walker Harvey said...

Thanks, Lisa, for stopping by! I just walked in from visiting my local library and asked my librarian for research help -- just love libraries and librarians!

Jen said...

Sounds so interesting! Reminds me right away of Richard Wright and the library card. :) I love libraries, too!

Jeanne Walker Harvey said...

Hi Jen, Yes, that's a great comparison!