Friday, July 24, 2015

The Remarkable Story of George Moses Horton Poet - a bookwrap

Unwrapping some quotes for you ...

Unwrapping today's featured book...

Written and illustrated by Don Tate

Ages  6-10

Unwrapping illustrations that are amazing...

About the book...

George Moses Horton was born into slavery and yearned above all else to be able to read.  He would listen as the white children practiced their alphabet and their daily reading lessons.  Oh how he wanted to decipher those strange words that were all around him in his world, but slaves at that time were forbidden to read the printed word.

"But that didn't stop George from admiring the language all around him: Inspirational words read from the Bible. Hopeful words delivered in a sermon. Likely words sung in songs." 

 His mother's wanted to help him but couldn't.  She gave George one of her most valuable possessions: a Wesley hymnal, a book of songs. It was his very first book but being illiterate he could not interpret its meaning. 

One day he found an old speller with some pages missing. It was enough to get him started.  Even though the spelling book was old, ragged and incomplete it was pure gold to George and it did not deter the fire in his belly to read.  He taught himself what those squiggly letters meant. 

"At night, when he should have been resting after a long day of work, George studied by firelight.  His eyes burned from the smoke. Soon he could make out a few words. Before long he could understand entire sentences. Over time, George taught himself to read."

 He composed poems in his head and kept an arsenal of them there, tucked in for instant recall, because although he now could read, he was unable to write his poems down.  It was later on when his talent was recognized at the University of North Carolina, on Chapel Hill, a place where George sold fruit and vegetables from his Master's garden, that a wife of a professor, aided him in getting his beautiful poems published and taught him how to write.   

The book takes us through the struggles that George had to pull himself out of the bonds of slavery.  He, an uneducated slave boy, had risen up and had become an authoritative voice in America's literary world.  With brute determination, his strong faith and especially his lifelong love for language, George was able to now write books of his beloved poetry.  

Although he harboured much talent and achieved much success he still was not a free man.  His stubborn Master would not consent to release him.  In 1883, President Abraham Lincoln signed the Emancipation Proclamation allowing George to finally become his own man and be liberated.  This did not happen until George was 66 years old.  

The book is inspiring, the illustrations are expressive and pleasing to the eye, and it is very educational. Your child will learn about that historical era and how one little boy's desire to read became a dream that actually did come true.  

About the author...

Don Tate has illustrated numerous critically acclaimed books for children including DUKE ELLINGTON'S NUTCRACKER SUITE (Charlesbridge), SHE LOVED BASEBALL (HarperCollins), and RON'S BIG MISSION (Penguin). Don's illustrations also appear regularly in newspapers and magazines, and on products for children such as wallpaper, textiles, calendars, apparel, and paper products. 

With a bold, dynamic style, Don's oil and acrylic paintings bring to life the pages of the children's books he illustrates.

Read on and read always!

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