Fifty Cents and a Dream: Young Booker T. Washington
Fifty Cents and a Dream: Young Booker T. Washington

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Annotation: A biography of the former slave and inspiring educator, Booker T. Washington, describes the hardships he overcame in youth, the circumstances that challenged his efforts to learn how to read, and his triumphant pursuit of a college education.
Genre: Biographies
Catalog Number: #82497
Format: Perma-Bound Edition from Publisher's Hardcover
All Formats: Search
Copyright Date: 2012
Edition Date: 2012
Illustrator: Collier, Bryan,
Pages: 48
Availability: Available
ISBN: Publisher: 0-316-08657-6 Perma-Bound: 0-605-81977-7
ISBN 13: Publisher: 978-0-316-08657-8 Perma-Bound: 978-0-605-81977-1
Dewey: 921
LCCN: 2012007265
Dimensions: 28 cm.
Language: English
ALA Booklist
Booker T. Washington is often attacked for compromising with, rather than attacking, the political establishment, but in this handsome picture-book biography, the focus is on an amazing achievement in his youth, when he walked 500 miles from his West Virginia home "without a single penny in his pocket" to make it to school. Asim tells the story in spare free verse, beginning with Washington as a slave boy whose dream was to learn to read. Even when freedom comes, life is brutally hard: "he shoveled, hauled and packed," working in a salt furnace and a coal mine. Collier's dramatic, unframed illustrations in watercolor and collage include the unforgettable image of the young Washington staring through a window at white kids in the classroom. Then there is Washington's journey; tired, hungry, and alone, he was always struggling to get to school. The climax is a close-up portrait of the adult Washington seated in a classroom with books, dreaming of sharing what his teachers have given him. Extensive back matter includes additional facts, a chronology, and a discussion about his enduring legacy.
Horn Book
The emphasis of this brief portrait of Booker T. Washington is on his quest for knowledge: as a young boy living in slavery, wanting to learn to read, and then as a young adult attending the Hampton Institute. Watercolor and collage illustrations show the powerful determination on the subject's face, and everything about the bookmaking reverberates with the importance of books and learning. Timeline. Bib.
School Library Journal Starred Review
Gr 2&11;4&12; Here sits a barefooted boy leaning against a tree trunk, eyes closed, dreaming about reading. Here he is following his master's daughter to school, carrying her books, feeling their "magic seeping into his hands." Booker was born a slave, and slaves were forbidden to read. Emancipation came while he was still young. He worked with the men in his family, first shoveling salt, then in a coal mine. He learned to read from a spelling book his mother gave him. He attended the school for Negroes after work and dreamed of Hampton Institute, where he could study writing. He walked there-hundreds of miles through the mountains of Virginia, unloading ships in Richmond when his food money ran out. A janitor job at Hampton paid his room and board. Written in simply stated narrative, in a font that looks hand-printed, this story covers more of Washington's life and offers more detail than Marie Bradby's More Than Anything Else (Orchard, 1995), a brief, movingly told, beautifully rendered introduction to Washington for younger children. Collier's patterned and textured watercolor and paper collage paintings perfectly mirror the narrative, reiterating details and settings in handsomely constructed glimpses of the young Booker at school and at work; the teen-aged Booker traveling on foot toward a better education; the student dreaming of great things to come. His dreams are shown as luminescent bubbles or rays of light that reach toward the sky; his shirt is map-patterned. Two pages of biographical endnotes include a time line of his significant accomplishments. An inspirational life, memorably presented.&12; Susan Scheps, formerly at Shaker Public Library, OH
Starred Review for Kirkus Reviews
A former slave fulfills his quest for an education and much more in this superbly designed tribute to an oft-maligned African-American educator and author. The young Washington, who learned his letters from a spelling book his mother gave to him, hears about Hampton College in Virginia, over 500 miles away. With the help of neighbors who share their precious coins, he travels, mostly on foot, from West Virginia with hunger, cold and weariness as constant companions. Asim's lyrical text transforms the journey into a spiritual awakening for a young man who had "a dream in his soul." Collier is in brilliant Caldecott Honor style, using his signature watercolor paintings and cut-paper collage to incorporate elements from Booker's life and visions into each illustration. A map route is a design on his shirt, and letters and words from the speller he cherished decorate the pages. Each tableau is beautifully composed and balanced with textured colors and patterns. The cover display type and the endpapers, which are taken from Webster's American Spelling Book, embellish this ode to book learning. Washington's was not a life filled with anger and fiery oratory. Rather, Asim and Collier laud his steadfast determination and lifelong dedication to learning. An outstanding achievement and a life worthy of note. (additional facts, author's note, illustrator's note, bibliography) (Picture book/biography. 4-8)
Reviewing Agencies: - Find Other Reviewed Titles
Starred Review for Kirkus Reviews
School Library Journal Starred Review (Mon Oct 01 00:00:00 CDT 2012)
ALA Booklist (Sat Sep 01 00:00:00 CDT 2012)
Bulletin of the Center for Children's Books
Horn Book (Mon Apr 01 00:00:00 CDT 2013)
National Council For Social Studies Notable Children's Trade
Wilson's Children's Catalog
Bibliography Index/Note: Includes bibliographical references.
Word Count: 1,326
Reading Level: 4.9
Interest Level: K-3
Accelerated Reader: reading level: 4.9 / points: 0.5 / quiz: 155677 / grade: Lower Grades
Reading Counts!: reading level:4.5 / points:2.0 / quiz:Q59558
Guided Reading Level: P
Fountas & Pinnell: P

Booker dreamed
of making friends with words,
setting free the secrets
that lived in books.

Born into slavery, young Booker T. Washington could only dream of learning to read and write. After emancipation, Booker began a five-hundred-mile journey, mostly on foot, to Hampton Institute, taking his first of many steps towards a college degree. When he arrived, he had just fifty cents in his pocket and a dream about to come true. The young slave who once waited outside of the schoolhouse would one day become a legendary educator of freedmen.

Award-winning artist Bryan Collier captures the hardship and the spirit of one of the most inspiring figures in American history, bringing to life Booker T. Washington's journey to learn, to read, and to realize a dream.

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