George Moses Horton hungered for knowledge and the ability to read and write. He had a head full of words roaming around forming stories and poems but no way to write them. Finally, he had an opportunity. Even though not freed and not able to purchase his freedom, he was allowed to go Chapel Hill - the home of the University of North Carolina, where he spoke poems to the young students for their sweethearts. Eventually he was taught to write his poems by one of the citizens of Chapel Hill.
|George listening to others learn their ABCs|
It is a joy to read of George Moses Horton's journey into the world of literacy and the happiness that reading brought to him.
|Some of his poems were anti-slavery or about|
the conditions they lived and worked under
The illustrations are done in an exaggerated style with softened yellows, greens, and browns. Horton's poems are displayed as background to the pictures on the two page spreads. Illustrations depict conditions and life as a slave prior to and during the Civil War. The text is advanced somewhat and may invoke further discussion and study on the part of young readers. This picture-book biography will fit well into history lessons of the period or for simply pleasure reading.
About the book: Born a slave, George Moses Horton taught himself to read, memorizing the poems he composed until he later learned to write. Hand-lettered excerpts of Horton’s writing amplify his successes and setbacks as he gains a reputation as a poet among students at the University of North Carolina, to whom he sold produce. Horton’s poems drew additional attention and were published (“Needless to say, it was a dangerous time for Horton, whose poems often protested slavery,” Tate writes in an afterword), but freedom remained elusive until the signing of the Emancipation Proclamation, when Horton was 66 years old. Tate’s mixed-media illustrations glow with bright greens and yellows, radiating a warmth, hope, and promise that echo this stirring biography’s closing message: “Words loosened the chains of bondage long before his last day as a slave.” Ages 6–10. Agent: Caryn Wiseman, Andrea Brown Literary Agency.
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DISCLOSURE: I was provided a complimentary copy by Peachtree Publishing to facilitate this review. Opinions are my own alone. I was not compensated for the review. The giveaway copy is provided by the publisher and will be sent directly to the winner.