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Poet: The Remarkable Story of George Moses Horton



by
Don Tate

Edition
Hardcover edition
Publisher
Peachtree Publishers
Imprint
Peachtree
ISBN
9781561458257

Awards and Honors
2016 Ezra Jack Keats New Writer Award Winner
Capitol Choices 2016
Kirkus Reviews Best Children’s Books of 2015, Picture Books
NCSS Carter G. Woodson Book Award 2016 Winner, Elementary ALA Notable Books for Children 2016, Middle Readers
Chicago Public Library Best Books of 2015, Informational Books for Younger Readers
2016 Notable Social Studies Trade Books for Young People, 3–5
2016 CCBC Choices–Biography and Autobiography
2015 Cybils Awards Nomination, Elementary / Middle Grade Nonfiction
Best Multicultural Books of 2015
2016 Christopher Award, Ages 6 & up
2016 Crystal Kite Award Winner, Texas/Oklahoma
Triple Crown National Book Award 2016-2017
Children’s Literature Assembly, 2016 Notable Children’s Books in the English Language Arts
Children’s Book Committee Bank Street College of Education Best Children’s Books of 2016, Biography and Memoir
William Allen White Children’s Book Awards 2017–2018 Master List, Grades 3–5
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2016 Ezra Jack Keats New Writer Award Winner
As a boy, George Moses Horton taught himself to read, and “words loosened the chains of bondage.” During six decades of enslavement, he became a poet and the first African American published in the South. Bibliography. Author’s note. Full-color mixed-media illustrations were done in gouache, archival ink, pencil, and digitally.

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None

Details

Format

Print

Page Count

36

Trim Size

9 1/2" x 11"

AR

4.5: points 0.5

Lexile

730L

Genre

Nonfic

Scholastic Reading Counts

3

JLG Release

Nov 2015

Book Genres


Topics

George Moses Horton (1798?-c. 1880). Nineteenth-century American poets. Biography. African American poets. Slaves. North Carolina. U.S. freedmen.

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Cover Art

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Praise & Reviews

Starred or favorable reviews have been received from these periodicals:

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

School Library Journal

[STARRED REVIEW]
This picture book biography of poet George Moses Horton (1798–1884), a slave and the first African American poet to be published in the South, recounts his fascinating long life and masterly way with words. Tate’s distinctive illustrations feature gently curving horizons, bucolic washes of color, and figures with oversize heads and stylized, expressive faces. The illustrations and the accessible, lyrical text spare readers from the full force of slavery’s brutality: enslaved people are shown as ragged but resilient, Horton’s forced labor in the fields is genteelly called “disagreeable,” and the scene of a slave revolt is bloodless. Tate integrates historical context into the narrative, for instance, describing how prominent abolitionists tried to help Horton buy his freedom or how his business writing love poems for hire folded because his customers enlisted in the Confederate army. Nevertheless, the focus remains on Horton and his emotional journey: triumph at his first publication; heartbreak when he was sold from his family; joy and contentment in his old age when he was, at last, free. Several of Horton’s verses appear throughout the book, and back matter includes an extensive author’s note and source list. VERDICT A lovely introduction to an inspirational American poet.—Sarah Stone, San Francisco Public Library

Horn Book

Young people might have heard of Langston Hughes’s poetry and Booker T. Washington’s quest for literacy, but they most likely have never heard of George Moses Horton, who taught himself to read and compose poetry, and who lived as a slave in North Carolina until he was sixty-six years old. Tate tells Horton’s story, omitting none of the sadness (he is sent away from his family at the age of seventeen to serve his master’s son) but still making the story accessible to the young reader and listener. Horton’s story is uplifting: he teaches himself to read from a tattered old spelling book; collects words and phrases from sermons, Bible verses, and songs; and eventually learns about poetry from reading the newspaper. When he finds an audience at the University of North Carolina, where he sells fruits and vegetables on the weekends, he becomes a paid poet, delivering love poems aloud and finally learning to write from a professor’s wife (herself a published author) who appreciates his work. The illustrations—goauche, ink, and pencil—are as straightforward as the text but pack the appropriate emotional punch. Young readers may need an adult intermediary—a classroom teacher, perhaps—in order to understand the historical context, but Tate tells a compelling story for any age. Lengthy and interesting back matter adds much for the reader who wants to know more about this poet and the times in which he lived. robin l. smith

Praise & Reviews

School Library Journal

[STARRED REVIEW]
This picture book biography of poet George Moses Horton (1798–1884), a slave and the first African American poet to be published in the South, recounts his fascinating long life and masterly way with words. Tate’s distinctive illustrations feature gently curving horizons, bucolic washes of color, and figures with oversize heads and stylized, expressive faces. The illustrations and the accessible, lyrical text spare readers from the full force of slavery’s brutality: enslaved people are shown as ragged but resilient, Horton’s forced labor in the fields is genteelly called “disagreeable,” and the scene of a slave revolt is bloodless. Tate integrates historical context into the narrative, for instance, describing how prominent abolitionists tried to help Horton buy his freedom or how his business writing love poems for hire folded because his customers enlisted in the Confederate army. Nevertheless, the focus remains on Horton and his emotional journey: triumph at his first publication; heartbreak when he was sold from his family; joy and contentment in his old age when he was, at last, free. Several of Horton’s verses appear throughout the book, and back matter includes an extensive author’s note and source list. VERDICT A lovely introduction to an inspirational American poet.—Sarah Stone, San Francisco Public Library

Horn Book

Young people might have heard of Langston Hughes’s poetry and Booker T. Washington’s quest for literacy, but they most likely have never heard of George Moses Horton, who taught himself to read and compose poetry, and who lived as a slave in North Carolina until he was sixty-six years old. Tate tells Horton’s story, omitting none of the sadness (he is sent away from his family at the age of seventeen to serve his master’s son) but still making the story accessible to the young reader and listener. Horton’s story is uplifting: he teaches himself to read from a tattered old spelling book; collects words and phrases from sermons, Bible verses, and songs; and eventually learns about poetry from reading the newspaper. When he finds an audience at the University of North Carolina, where he sells fruits and vegetables on the weekends, he becomes a paid poet, delivering love poems aloud and finally learning to write from a professor’s wife (herself a published author) who appreciates his work. The illustrations—goauche, ink, and pencil—are as straightforward as the text but pack the appropriate emotional punch. Young readers may need an adult intermediary—a classroom teacher, perhaps—in order to understand the historical context, but Tate tells a compelling story for any age. Lengthy and interesting back matter adds much for the reader who wants to know more about this poet and the times in which he lived. robin l. smith

Grades 2-6
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Interests
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