Day: February 9, 2017

Frederick Douglass by Walter Dean Myers

frederick-douglass-by-walter-dean-myers

Frederick Douglass: The Lion Who Wrote History by Walter Dean Myers, illustrated by Floyd Cooper

The late Walter Dean Myers shows readers the upbringing of American hero, Frederick Douglass. Douglass was born a slave in Maryland. He was first taught about reading by the mistress of the house, but she soon stopped teaching him. Frederick grew up helping to care for the family who owned him and learned from the children of the family how to speak clearly. He also learned the differences between his life as a slave and their plans for happy futures. So Douglass taught himself to read. He was hired out to work in the shipyards where he met sailors who were free black men. He fell in love with a free woman and made his way North to freedom, posing as a sailor. Once free in the North, he started to speak out against slavery, becoming the legendary orator he is famous for being.

Myers draws a complete picture of Douglass here. He shows readers the differences between slavery and freedom with a clarity that is vastly helpful. He doesn’t linger on the violence of slavery but it is also not lessened or ignored. He strikes just the right balance for a young audience. As the book continues, one sees Douglass grow up, learn many things and then not only head to freedom himself but argue that slavery should be abolished. There is real courage on these pages, risks taken for a real life, and an understanding that Douglass himself was an incredible individual.

The illustrations by award-willing Cooper are exceptional. Done with erasers and oils on board, they have a beautiful texture to them, almost hazy with the historical significance of what they are depicting. There are images of love, others of violence, others of freedom newly found. As Douglass grows up on the pages he becomes more and more the icon visually as well.

Strong and important, this picture book biography is inspiring. Appropriate for ages 7-9.

Reviewed from copy received from HarperCollins.

2017 Waterstone Children’s Book Prize Shortlist

The shortlist for the 2017 Waterstone Children’s Book Prize has been released. This is a British book prize, so some of the books may not yet be available in the US. The prize has three age categories with six finalists in each category:

ILLUSTRATED BOOKS

The Bear Who Stared 28818766

The Bear Who Stared by Duncan Beedie

The Journey by Francesca Sanna

 Super Stan

Life Is Magic by Meg McLaren

Super Stan by Matt Robertson

There's a tiger in the garden Tiger in a Tutu

There’s a Tiger in the Garden by Lizzy Stewart

Tiger in a Tutu by Fabi Santiago

 

YOUNGER READERS

Beetle Boy (The Battle of the Beetles #1) Captain Pug

Beetle Boy by M. G. Leonard

Captain Pug by Laura James

Cogheart (The Cogheart Adventures, #1) The Girl of Ink and Stars

Cogheart by Peter Bunzl

The Girl of Ink and Stars by Kiran Millwood-Hargrave

Time Travelling with a Hamster Wolf Hollow

Time Travelling with a Hamster by Ross Welford

Wolf Hollow by Lauren Wolk

 

OLDER READERS

Anna and the Swallow Man Hour of the Bees

Anna and the Swallow Man by Gavriel Savit

Hour of the Bees by Lindsay Eagar

Orangeboy Paper Butterflies

Orangeboy by Patrice Lawrence

Paper Butterflies by Lisa Heathfield

The Sun Is Also a Star The Wildings (The Wildings, #1)

The Sun Is Also a Star by Nicola Yoon

The Wildings by Nilanjana Roy