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Lift Your Light a Little Higher: The Story of Stephen Bishop: Slave-Explorer



by
Heather Henson
illustrated by
Bryan Collier

Edition
Hardcover edition
Publisher
Simon & Schuster
Imprint
Atheneum/Caitlyn Dlouhy Books
ISBN
9781481420952

Awards and Honors
The Kirkus Prize 2016 Nominee, Young Readers
CBC Notable Social Studies Trade Books for Young People 2017, K–2
POTENTIALLY SENSITIVE AREAS
None
$12.75   $9.75
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QTY
Out of stock

JLG Category

Easy Reading Plus

Grab your lantern and follow the remarkable, world-famous Mammoth Cave explorer—and slave—Stephen Bishop as he guides you through the world's largest cave system. Author's note. Illustrator's note. Resources. Full-color illustrations were rendered in watercolor and collage.

POTENTIALLY SENSITIVE AREAS
None

Details

Format

Print

Page Count

32

Trim Size

11 1/2" x 9"

Dewey

306.3/62092 B

AR

3.7: points 0.5

Lexile

AD670L

Genre

Nonfic

Scholastic Reading Counts

1

JLG Release

Oct 2016

Book Genres


Topics

Stephen Bishop (c. 1821–1857). Nineteenth-century U.S. history. Kentucky. Slavery. Mammoth Cave. Cave explorers.

Standard MARC Records

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Cover Art

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Praise & Reviews

Starred or favorable reviews have been received from these periodicals:

Bulletin of the Center for Children’s Books, Booklist, The Horn Book Magazine, Kirkus Reviews*, Publishers Weekly, School Library Journal

School Library Journal

In 1840s Kentucky, Stephen Bishop, a slave, gave public tours of Mammoth Cave for his master’s profit. Henson takes this factual piece of history and weaves a germane and trenchant story. Written in the first person, with Bishop leading readers through a tour, this book packs intricate meaning into each line. For example, when describing the cave, Bishop says, “ ’Specially when you’re searching out a path that’s hardly been lit, a trail that’s never been smooth or flat or plain to follow,” implying that the path of the cave is much like that of a slave. Collier’s superb watercolor and collage illustrations are painterly and grainy and complement the text perfectly. Bishop, who also becomes known as “Guide,” cleverly learns to read by showing people how to make marks on the cave with a candle. They write their names; he learns to read. Readers follow Bishop as he showcases his skill and reflects on his seemingly incompatible roles in life—the limits of slavery and his unlimited exploration and knowledge of Mammoth Cave. The work ends with Bishop warning readers that there is little information on his life beyond the cave, explaining that history books do not record his death and that sometimes “you just got to go beyond what’s written down to get to what’s been left untold.” VERDICT Complex and just waiting for an in-depth discussion, this is a solid purchase for biography and U.S. history collections.—Jennifer Steib Simmons, Anderson County Library, SC

Horn Book

Underground, Stephen Bishop (born around 1821) was an intrepid explorer and leader, world renowned for his knowledge of Mammoth Cave, the largest cave system on earth. He discovered new species of fish and crawdads in the underground caves and became the first cartographer of the region. However, his skin was black, which made his aboveground identity in 1840s Kentucky that of a slave known simply as “Guide.” In a first-person fictionalized narrative, Bishop himself guides us through his remarkable life story. Bishop’s tone vacillates between pride in his accomplishments and growing legacy and a stonier tone regarding his life as a slave (“But being known is not the same as being free”). Speaking directly to readers, Bishop tells of how he has become literate by showing the “fine folks” he leads through the caves how to write their names on the walls and ceilings with candle smoke (“And in return they teach me, sometimes, without knowing what’s been taught”). Collier’s deft watercolor and collage illustrations pay special attention to perspective and lighting, the dark browns and burnt oranges of the cave contrasting with the bright greens and blues of aboveground. Collier also takes great care to place Bishop in the forefront of the cave scenes, whether it’s a full portrait of his face or his intent gaze as he observes the tourists writing. This is a fitting tribute to a historical figure who led so many yet had to remain behind. eboni njoku

Praise & Reviews

School Library Journal

In 1840s Kentucky, Stephen Bishop, a slave, gave public tours of Mammoth Cave for his master’s profit. Henson takes this factual piece of history and weaves a germane and trenchant story. Written in the first person, with Bishop leading readers through a tour, this book packs intricate meaning into each line. For example, when describing the cave, Bishop says, “ ’Specially when you’re searching out a path that’s hardly been lit, a trail that’s never been smooth or flat or plain to follow,” implying that the path of the cave is much like that of a slave. Collier’s superb watercolor and collage illustrations are painterly and grainy and complement the text perfectly. Bishop, who also becomes known as “Guide,” cleverly learns to read by showing people how to make marks on the cave with a candle. They write their names; he learns to read. Readers follow Bishop as he showcases his skill and reflects on his seemingly incompatible roles in life—the limits of slavery and his unlimited exploration and knowledge of Mammoth Cave. The work ends with Bishop warning readers that there is little information on his life beyond the cave, explaining that history books do not record his death and that sometimes “you just got to go beyond what’s written down to get to what’s been left untold.” VERDICT Complex and just waiting for an in-depth discussion, this is a solid purchase for biography and U.S. history collections.—Jennifer Steib Simmons, Anderson County Library, SC

Horn Book

Underground, Stephen Bishop (born around 1821) was an intrepid explorer and leader, world renowned for his knowledge of Mammoth Cave, the largest cave system on earth. He discovered new species of fish and crawdads in the underground caves and became the first cartographer of the region. However, his skin was black, which made his aboveground identity in 1840s Kentucky that of a slave known simply as “Guide.” In a first-person fictionalized narrative, Bishop himself guides us through his remarkable life story. Bishop’s tone vacillates between pride in his accomplishments and growing legacy and a stonier tone regarding his life as a slave (“But being known is not the same as being free”). Speaking directly to readers, Bishop tells of how he has become literate by showing the “fine folks” he leads through the caves how to write their names on the walls and ceilings with candle smoke (“And in return they teach me, sometimes, without knowing what’s been taught”). Collier’s deft watercolor and collage illustrations pay special attention to perspective and lighting, the dark browns and burnt oranges of the cave contrasting with the bright greens and blues of aboveground. Collier also takes great care to place Bishop in the forefront of the cave scenes, whether it’s a full portrait of his face or his intent gaze as he observes the tourists writing. This is a fitting tribute to a historical figure who led so many yet had to remain behind. eboni njoku

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