Reviews for Carter Reads the Newspaper

by Deborah Hopkinson

Publishers Weekly
(c) Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved

In her conversational biography of Carter G. Woodson, whose work led to the establishment of Black History Month, Hopkinson (Ordinary, Extraordinary Jane Austen) acknowledges that he is a hero "we sometimes forget." It focuses on his Virginia upbringing and the admirable individuals who inspired him, including his father, James Henry Woodson, who escaped slavery to join the Union Army and "gave Carter the courage to look anyone in the eye and declare, 'I am your equal.''" Reading newspapers to his illiterate father gave the boy his "first glimpse of the wider world," a vision enhanced by a friend and fighter for equality, Oliver Jones, who taught Woodson to learn "through others." Woodson became the second African-American (after W.E.B. Du Bois) to earn a PhD in history from Harvard. Told by a professor that "Black people had no history," Woodson set out to prove otherwise, and established Negro History Week in 1926, which endures today as Black History Month. Delicately textured mixed-media illustrations by Tate (The Cart That Carried Martin) offer spare, stylized images of this lesser-known crusader, as well as portraits of other African-American leaders. A bibliography, list of black leaders, and timeline conclude the volume. Ages 6-10. (Feb.) Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved.

Book list
From Booklist, Copyright © American Library Association. Used with permission.

It's easy to take an established practice for granted and forget that someone, sometime, had the original inspiration for it. This picture-book biography tells of Carter G. Woodson, an educator and civil rights leader, who introduced Negro History Week the precursor of Black History Month back in 1926. Young readers will be caught up in his story. The youngest of seven children and a child of formerly enslaved people, he became largely self-educated by reading the newspaper out loud to his illiterate father (Woodson eventually went on to receive a PhD from Harvard). Quotes are seamlessly woven into the narrative, and a time line, list of sources, and bibliography add research appeal. Of special note are the illustrations, which include more than 40 portraits of black leaders, either blended into the narrative or appearing on end pages. Notables range from Hannibal Barca, circa 200 BCE, to Michelle and Barack Obama. Their images and one-line biographies will pique further interest, making this a valuable resource for school and public libraries.--Kathleen McBroom Copyright 2018 Booklist

Copyright © Kirkus Reviews, used with permission.

This biography of the "father of Black History," Dr. Carter G. Woodson, highlights experiences that shaped his passion.Carter was born after the Civil War, but his parents had been slaves, and he grew up hearing the stories of their lives. With six siblings, Carter experienced lean times as a boy. Carter's father, who couldn't read or write, had Carter read the newspaper aloud. As a teenager, Carter had to work to help his family. In the coal mines, he met Oliver Jones, a Civil War veteran who opened his small home to the other men as a reading room. There, Carter once again took on the role of reader, informing Oliver and his friends of what was in the paperand then researching to tell them more. After three years in the mines, he moved home to continue his education, eventually earning a Ph.D. from Harvard, where a professor challenged him to prove that his people had a history. In 1926 he established Negro History Week, which later became Black History Month. Hopkinson skillfully shapes Carter's childhood, family history, and formative experiences into a cohesive story. The soft curves and natural palette of Tate's illustrations render potentially scary episodes manageable for young readers, and portraits of historical figures offer an opening to further discovery. The incorporation of newsprint into many page backgrounds artfully echoes the title, and the inclusion of notable figures from black history reinforces the theme (a key is in the backmatter).An important and inspiring tale well told. (author's note, illustrator's note, resources, bibliography) (Picture book/biography. 6-10) Copyright Kirkus Reviews, used with permission.

School Library Journal
(c) Copyright Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.

Gr 1-3-A picture book biography about how Carter G. Woodson became known as the "father of Black History" that also highlights the importance of literacy and being an informed citizen. Woodson, a child of formerly enslaved parents, grew up listening to family and friend's stories and reading the newspaper to his father. As a coal miner, he met Oliver Jones, a veteran of the Civil War, who opened his house to other miners and would prompt Woodson to read the newspaper out loud. Hopkinson presents this as a pivotal moment of solidarity, alternative schooling, and a stirring within Woodson to pursue more knowledge about the histories and lives of black people. Tate's mixed media artwork complements these scenes perfectly, communicating camaraderie and inspiration in scenes overlaid backgrounds of newspaper print. After receiving his PhD from Harvard, Woodson created Negro History Week by sending out pamphlets of information to communities around the United States. Hopkinson frames this as a response to one of Carter's professors at Harvard who said that black people had no history. The narrative ends with an image of an older Woodson reading the paper and the reminder that Woodson changed history "and we can too." Thorough back matter, including an author and illustrator's note, and end pages featuring sketches of past and contemporary figures-Hannibal Barca, Edmonia Lewis, Colin Kaepernick-concludes this volume. VERDICT A charmingly illustrated picture book biography for elementary schoolers.-Lisa Nabel, Kitsap Regional Library, WA Copyright 2018. Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.

Horn Book
(c) Copyright The Horn Book, Inc., a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.

Hopkinson's inspiring story explains how young Carter G. Woodson (1875€“1950) read the newspaper to his father and fellow coal miners. Their desire to be informed citizens, plus a challenge from his Harvard professor, led Woodson to later establish Negro History Week, predecessor to Black History Month. Tate's engaging mixed-media illustrations and endpaper drawings include portraits of Black leaders throughout history. Timeline, websites. Bib. (c) Copyright 2021. The Horn Book, Inc., a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.