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Schomburg: The Man Who Built a Library

By: Carole Boston Weatherford

Illustrator: Eric Velasquez

Arturo Schomburg, an Afro-Puerto Rican of the Harlem Renaissance, collected books, letters, music, and art from Africa and the African diaspora to bring to light the achievements of people of African descent through the ages. Time line. Source notes. Bibliography. Full-color illustrations done in oil.

ISBN: 9780763680466

JLG Release: Dec 2017


Sensitive Areas: None
Topics: Arturo Schomburg (1874–1938) , African Americans , New York Public Library , Library , Harlem Renaissance , Afro-Puerto Ricans , Immigrants , New York City , Harlem , Africana , Book collectors , Historians , African American history , African heritage

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Awards & Honors

2018 Carter G. Woodson Book Award Honor, Middle Level
Booklist Top 10 Diverse Nonfiction for Older and Middle Readers: 2018
ALSC Notable Children’s Books 2018, All Ages
2018 Walter Award Winnder, Younger Readers
2018 Golden Kite Award Winner, Nonfiction for Younger Readers
Capitol Choices 2018, Seven to Ten
CCBC Choices 2018 Choice: Historical People, Places, and Events
CSMCL Best Multicultural Children’s Books of 2017
School Library Journal’s Best Books of 2017, Nonfiction
Shelf Awareness 2017 Best Books of the Year, Picture Books
Kirkus Reviews Best Books of 2017, Picture Books
New York Public Library Best Books for Kids 2017
The Nonfiction Detectives, Best Nonfiction Books of 2017

Praise & Reviews

Starred or favorable reviews have been received from these periodicals:

Booklist*, The Horn Book Magazine, Kirkus Reviews*, Publishers Weekly*, School Library Journal*

School Library Journal

[STARRED REVIEW]
Born in 1874, Afro-Puerto Rican Arturo Schomburg’s sense of wonder was stoked early on by listening to el lector, who read aloud from newspapers and novels to the cigar workers Schomburg kept company. When a teacher asserted that “Africa’s sons and daughters” had no history or heroes worth noting,
[STARRED REVIEW]
Born in 1874, Afro-Puerto Rican Arturo Schomburg’s sense of wonder was stoked early on by listening to el lector, who read aloud from newspapers and novels to the cigar workers Schomburg kept company. When a teacher asserted that “Africa’s sons and daughters” had no history or heroes worth noting, it sparked Schomburg’s lifelong quest to uncover his people’s stories, “correcting history for generations to come.” He immigrated to New York in 1891, and though stymied in his hopes to pursue higher education, began amassing a collection of Africana books and art. Through text and art, Weatherford and Velasquez craft a winning portrait of both collector and his collection. Oversize oil-on-watercolor paintings accompany each page of text: one arresting image finds young Schomburg immersed in a book, with a portrait of Benjamin Bannecker hanging above his shoulder. Velasquez captures Schomburg’s proud bearing and intent focus. His research led to writers and poets, including Frederick Douglass and poet Phillis Wheatley; revolutionaries like Toussaint Louverture; and luminaries whose “African heritage had been whitewashed,” including John James Audubon and Ludwig van Beethoven. By day, Schomburg worked as a mailroom clerk, but his collecting and scholarship introduced him to members of the Harlem Renaissance, such as Langston Hughes and Countee Cullen. Schomburg’s collection was donated to the New York Public Library and now boasts over 10 million items. VERDICT This excellent work of history illuminates Schomburg and his legendary collection for a new generation—it belongs in all public and school libraries.—Marilyn Taniguchi, Beverly Hills Public Library, CA

Horn Book

Growing up in Puerto Rico, Arturo Schomburg (1874–1938) asked his teachers why his textbooks omitted black people. He knew their contributions mattered, and ravenously read to learn more. At seventeen, Schomburg immigrated to New York, and while he worked hard at his day job, collecting books became his true passion—so much so that late Growing up in Puerto Rico, Arturo Schomburg (1874–1938) asked his teachers why his textbooks omitted black people. He knew their contributions mattered, and ravenously read to learn more. At seventeen, Schomburg immigrated to New York, and while he worked hard at his day job, collecting books became his true passion—so much so that later in life his wife demanded that he get rid of some in order to make room for their family. Only then did Schomburg—mailroom clerk at Bankers Trust Company by day but otherwise a committed collector, avid reader, and prominent figure among New York’s black literati—begin to earnestly seek a place where he could share his voluminous Africana collection. In time, his collection became the foundation for Harlem’s Schomburg Center for Research in Black Culture. In free verse, Weatherford tells of Schomburg’s widespread impact on literature, art, and music but also includes quirky details such as his habit of organizing books by color and size (“like a bouquet”) instead of subject. Velasquez’s richly detailed oil paintings aptly capture Schomburg’s zeal for learning and for teaching others. Framed images imbedded in the narrative focus on important black historical figures who had been left out of the history books, as well as those whose African heritage had been whitewashed out of historical records, including Alexander Pushkin and Ludwig van Beethoven. A must-read about a bibliophile extraordinaire. Appended with a timeline, source notes, and a bibliography. michelle h. martin

Book Details

ISBN

9780763680466

First Release

December 2017

Genre

Nonfic

Dewey Classification

026.909/0496092

Trim Size

9 3/4" x 11 3/4"

Page Count

48

Accelerated Reader

Level 6.9; Points: 1;

Scholastic Reading Counts

Level 10.4; Points: 4;

Lexile

Level 1100L

Format

Print Book

Edition

Hardcover edition

Publisher

Candlewick

Potentially Sensitive Areas

None

Topics

Arturo Schomburg (1874–1938), African Americans, New York Public Library, Library, Harlem Renaissance, Afro-Puerto Ricans, Immigrants, New York City, Harlem, Africana, Book collectors, Historians, African American history, African heritage,

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