Chat with us, powered by LiveChat

The Oldest Student: How Mary Walker Learned to Read



by
Rita Lorraine Hubbard
illustrated by
Oge Mora

Edition
Library edition with trade jacket added
Publisher
Penguin Random House
Imprint
Schwartz & Wade
ISBN
9781524768294
POTENTIALLY SENSITIVE AREAS
None
$19.56   $16.30
SEE MEMBER PRICE
QTY
Out of stock

In 1848, Mary Walker was born into slavery. At age 15, she was freed, and by age 20, she was married and had her first child. By age 68, she had worked numerous jobs, including cooking, cleaning, babysitting, and selling sandwiches to raise money for her church. At 114, she was the last remaining member of her family. And at 116, she learned to read.

From Rita Lorraine Hubbard and rising star Oge More comes the inspirational story of Mary Walker, a woman whose long life spanned from the Civil War to the Civil Rights Movement, and who—with perseverance and dedication—proved that you’re never too old to learn.

Selected bibliography. Author's note. Black-and-white photographs included on endpapers. Full-color illustrations were rendered in acrylic paint, china marker, colored pencil, patterned paper, and book clippings.

POTENTIALLY SENSITIVE AREAS
None

Details

Format

Print

Page Count

40

Trim Size

11" x 9"

Dewey

B

AR

4.6: points 0.5

Lexile

830L

Genre

Nonfic

Scholastic Reading Counts

0

JLG Release

Jun 2020

Book Genres

Picture Book

Topics

Mary Walker (1848-1969). US women slaves. Biography. US freedmen. US illiterate persons. Literacy.

Standard MARC Records

Download Standard MARC Records

Cover Art

Download Cover Art

Praise & Reviews

Starred or favorable reviews have been received from these periodicals:

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

School Library Journal

Mary Walker, born into slavery in 1848 on an Alabama plantation and freed at the age of 15, was accustomed to hard work and survival. She always wanted to learn how to read, but obligations to husbands, children, and time-consuming work obstructed any opportunity. Although Walker yearned to understand the meaning of the passages in the Bible, “words would have to wait.” Finally, when she was past the age of 90 and had outlived her husband and her three children, Walker signed up for a literacy class. It wasn’t easy; Walker “memorized the sounds each letter made and practiced writing her name so many times that her fingers cramped.” Walker conquered her illiteracy with practice and determination and enjoyed reading in the final five years of her life. Hubbard’s direct prose is inspirational. The idea that “you’re never too old to learn” is well executed. Mora’s collage and acrylic illustrations, reminiscent of Ezra Jack Keats, complement the text and add emotional weight to the story. An absorbing narrative and excellent illustrations combine to create a moving story of encouragement for youngsters.

Horn Book

As an enslaved child on an Alabama plantation, Mary Walker would look up at the birds soaring overhead and think: “That must be what it’s like to be free.” As a teen she was emancipated from slavery but still had to work hard all her life just to get by. At age 114, having outlived two husbands and three children, she decided to learn to read. The appended author’s note says that very little is known about Walker’s life during the intervening years (“I chose to imagine…details to fill in the blanks”); the generally straightforward (and unsourced) text includes invented thoughts and dialogue (“‘I’m going to learn to read those words,’ she vowed”). Pronounced “the nation’s oldest student,” Walker met presidents, flew in an airplane, and at long last “felt complete.” She died in 1969 at age 121. Mora’s vibrant mixed-media collages work in swirls of deep blues and greens. As Mary’s life unfurls, bird motifs appear, reiterating the freedom that she discovered when she learned to read. Words are embedded throughout, enriching each scene, and on the final page we see Mary’s quote: “You’re never too old to learn.” Photos of this inspirational woman appear on the endpapers.

Praise & Reviews

School Library Journal

Mary Walker, born into slavery in 1848 on an Alabama plantation and freed at the age of 15, was accustomed to hard work and survival. She always wanted to learn how to read, but obligations to husbands, children, and time-consuming work obstructed any opportunity. Although Walker yearned to understand the meaning of the passages in the Bible, “words would have to wait.” Finally, when she was past the age of 90 and had outlived her husband and her three children, Walker signed up for a literacy class. It wasn’t easy; Walker “memorized the sounds each letter made and practiced writing her name so many times that her fingers cramped.” Walker conquered her illiteracy with practice and determination and enjoyed reading in the final five years of her life. Hubbard’s direct prose is inspirational. The idea that “you’re never too old to learn” is well executed. Mora’s collage and acrylic illustrations, reminiscent of Ezra Jack Keats, complement the text and add emotional weight to the story. An absorbing narrative and excellent illustrations combine to create a moving story of encouragement for youngsters.

Horn Book

As an enslaved child on an Alabama plantation, Mary Walker would look up at the birds soaring overhead and think: “That must be what it’s like to be free.” As a teen she was emancipated from slavery but still had to work hard all her life just to get by. At age 114, having outlived two husbands and three children, she decided to learn to read. The appended author’s note says that very little is known about Walker’s life during the intervening years (“I chose to imagine…details to fill in the blanks”); the generally straightforward (and unsourced) text includes invented thoughts and dialogue (“‘I’m going to learn to read those words,’ she vowed”). Pronounced “the nation’s oldest student,” Walker met presidents, flew in an airplane, and at long last “felt complete.” She died in 1969 at age 121. Mora’s vibrant mixed-media collages work in swirls of deep blues and greens. As Mary’s life unfurls, bird motifs appear, reiterating the freedom that she discovered when she learned to read. Words are embedded throughout, enriching each scene, and on the final page we see Mary’s quote: “You’re never too old to learn.” Photos of this inspirational woman appear on the endpapers.

Grades 2-6
Character Building Elementary
For Grades 2-6

This category provides 12 books per year that offer positive messages and spark thoughtful discussions about such things as ethics, kindness, and loyalty.

12 books per Year
$195.60 per Year
Interests
Biographies,Diversity,Nonfiction,Positive Messages
Like this book?
Get more like this every month.
LEARN MORE
Grades 2-6
Character Building Elementary
12 books per Year
$195.60 per Year

Other Recommended Titles From Character Building Elementary

A Walk in the Words

by Hudson Talbott

Character Building Elementary

December 2021
Out of stock

Wounded Falcons

by Jairo Buitrago

Character Building Elementary

November 2021

What I Am

by Divya Srinivasan

Character Building Elementary

October 2021

Amara and the Bats

by Emma Reynolds

Character Building Elementary

September 2021
Copyright © 2017 Magento, Inc. All rights reserved.