Review by Shelly Burns (Write for a Reader)
Howard Thurman was born in 1899, in segregated Daytona, Florida. His mother and grandmother cooked and cleaned for other people, but he dreamed of the day when they wouldn’t have to do that, when he could go to college like his late father had wanted him to. Negro students at the time didn’t make it passed the seventh grade. Howard was determined to find a way to go to the eighth grade and then on to high school and college. He transcends the limits on Negro education and earns a scholarship to an out –of-town high school. Howard’s dream would have been lost if it hadn’t been for a kind act by a stranger at a railroad station.
Howard Thurman is a name that I did not know until I read this book. Because of his dedication and perseverance, Howard became a seminal civil rights leader and an inspiration to the nation. Kai Jackson Issa shares a wonderful story about the bonds of community and the power of faith. This book would make a great read aloud for students learning African-American history, during Black History month, or to analyze the character of Howard Thurman.
Through her writing, Issa shows the determination of a boy who seemed to have everything against him.
“Sometimes Howard’s longing for Papa felt like a terrible ache. Even though his father was gone, Howard still wanted to make him proud. Howard dreamed of becoming a college man just like Papa said. With an education, Howard could determine his own destiny.”
The story does not shy away from the hard parts of Thurman’s life and paint a pretty picture. It tells it like it is, so that the reader knows that Howard had to deal with a lot of “stuff,” just like people today do.
“Every day after his classes, Howard worked odd jobs to help his family. He did yard work, cleaned fish in a market, shined shoes, and churned ice cream in his cousin Thornton’s restaurant.”
What a great message for children; determination and perseverance, even in the toughest times, pays off. Even adults can benefit from reading this book.
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- Hardcover: 32 pages
- Publisher: Lee & Low Books (September 1, 2008)
- ISBN-10: 1600602495
- ISBN-13: 978-1600602498
- Source: Review Copy from Publisher
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