Tuesday, December 29, 2020

CYBILS Nominees: The Only Woman in the Photo and The Oldest Student: How Mary Walker Learned to Read

The Only Woman in the Photo
By Kathleen Krull
CYBILS Category: Elementary Nonfiction

I am not proud to admit this, but I did not recognize Frances Perkins' name before I picked up this book. I realized as I was reading this book I had heard of some of the things she advocated for but I did not truly understand the impact of her work until finishing this book. Krull did an excellent job highlighting the importance of this woman, one who seldom wanted to be in the limelight, yet whos policies we still to this day are thankful to have. 

The typography for the important quotes is phenomenal--I love the impact these quotes have. The illustrations overall are approachable and I appreciate the way they set the tone and historical time period in this book--it helps bring further understanding to it for younger readers. 

The Oldest Student: How Mary Walker Learned to Read
By Rita Lorraine Hubbard
CYBILS Category: Elementary Nonfiction

Imagine living over 100 years without learning to read, write, or do basic math. That is the life Mary Walker lived as she was born a slave, was freed as a teen, married twice, had a family, but yet never got had a chance to go to school until she buried her three sons and both her husbands.  After her last son dies, she finally decides now is the time for her to be able to learn.

She becomes the oldest student in Chattanooga Area Literacy Movement in 1963 at 114 years old becomes an inspiration to all as she dedicates her time to

learning how to read and write.  She inspires all those around her to take on challenges and as she always said "you're never too old to learn."

Along with the inspiration life, the artwork in this book is just lovely done in a collage style by Oga Mora. The end papers have black and white photographs of Mary Walker celebrating moments of her life as well. The bibliography used to write the book is given on the title page verso, an unusual placement, but at least it is included as it is important in nonfiction works to include reference sources. The book ends with the author's note, tell readers more about Walker's life and in that note it tells readers that the author had to imagine parts of Walker's life since there is no written account of the time she is freed by the Emancipation Proclamation at fifteen until she learned to read in 1963.  While this is not ideal, in my opinion, for nonfiction it is understandable when you want to bring to life these inspirational stories when there is no documentation left especially with marginalized communities.  Overall, this is a great book to read to our younger students to show that even when it is hard, we should not give up--you are never too old to learn. 

No comments:

Post a Comment

Thank you for taking the time to write a comment! I read them all and respond to them as soon as I can.