Nonfiction Picture Book Wednesday - Fifty Cents and a Dream

Author: Jabari Asim
Illustrator: Bryan Collier
Publisher: Little, Brown & Co. (December 4, 2012)
Source: Personal Copy
Independent Reading Level: Second and Third Grade
Read Aloud Level: Kindergarten to Second Grade
Biographical * African American Heritage *U.S. History
Pair with: Words Set Me Free: The Story of Young Frederick Douglass by Lesa Cline-Ransome; Illustrated by James E. Ransome

Description on IndieBound:
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.

My thoughts on this book:
"With fifty cents in his pocket and a dream in his soul, Booker felt the magic welcome him in." - Jabari Asim
Since I cannot write a review that only says - "Book is good. Read this book." - I need to find the words to explain why I really, really liked Asim's Fifty Cents and a Dream.  Asim provides readers with a glimpse of what it might have been like for Booker T. Washington from his childhood as a slave to his eventual freedom and pursuit of education at Hampton Institute.  It inspires me when I read stories about individuals who have worked amazingly hard to learn to read or get an education. And in reading this story of Washington's journey, I was once again inspired.

Asim's text is paired perfectly with Bryan Collier's illustrations.  Collier gets what Asim is attempting with his text and illustrates the story in a way that brings the story to life.  In one painting, I can feel the sun shining down on Washington and in another I can feel the determination flowing through him.

At the end of the book, Asim includes a few pages of resources including additional facts and timeline on Washington's journey and a biography.  Fifty Cents and a Dream has both great text and great illustrations.  This would be a fabulous addition to classroom or school library.  Look for Fifty Cents and a Dream at your local public library or bookstore.  Remember to buy from an independent bookstore whenever possible.

For more information about author, Jabari Asim: blog | facebook | twitter

Read an interview with Jabari Asim over on Watch.Connect.Read

Read an interview with Bryan Collier on Watch.Connect.Read

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