Friday, December 07, 2012


Fifty Cents and a Dream: Young Booker T. WashingtonAsim, Jabari. Fifty Cents and a Dream: Young Book T. Washington
Illustrated by Bryan Collier
4 December 2012, Little, Brown

This picture book biography covers mainly Washington's youth, from his days as a slave being unable by law to be able to read, through his family's life in West Virginia where he worked in the coal mines, to the fulfillment of his dream of getting a college education at the Hampton Institute. I love how this book points out how much Washington wanted to learn, and the extreme lengths he went to in order to make his education possible-- walking 500 miles to get to the school, working as a janitor to afford his room and board, etc. Afterwords fill in more information about his later career. A short bibliography is included.
Strengths: This would be a good read aloud during Black History Month since it stresses the importance of education. It would be a good introduction to Booker T. Washington, and might encourage older students to read a longer book about his entire career.
Weaknesses: While Washington's struggles are portrayed, the book waxes a bit idyllic somehow. Perhaps that is just the difference between picture books and biographies for older students.

Am I the only one feeling a little blog weary... or maybe just weary in general? I looked at the picture of Scrooge and thought "His nightcap looks comfy!" There are just three more Cybils books that I need to read (if I can find copies), I've been having trouble setting up the Google Hangout to discuss this in late December, and the library lesson this week was less than successful. I did go to the Scholastic warehouse sale yesterday to pick out some books with our book fair profit (we didn't sell enough for cash profit-- Bah! Humbug!), and put in the last book orders of the year today. Also get to teach daily life in ancient Rome all day, which should make me happy. I will chalk this general ennui up to the recent cold snap.

1 comment:

  1. I'm going to the warehouse sale next week! I don't think we've ever made cash profit - we are a small sale. This year I'm NOT doing it the last week of summer reading though...

    I wouldn't bother with google hangout. Never used it myself, but I assume everyone will have to download the software. To invite people to your chat, just go to the infintesimal arrow next to your picture on the chat column and click on "add contact"