A Hunger for Learning: A Story about Booker T. Washington by Gwenyth Swain illus. by Larry Johnson

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A Hunger for Learning: A Story about Booker T. Washington by Gwenyth Swain illus. by Larry Johnson

Swain, Gwenyth, illus. by Larry Johnson. A Hunger for Learning: A Story about Booker T. Washington. Lerner, 2006. ISBN 978-0822530909 64 pp. $

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Swain chronicles the life of a former slave who grew up to be a great teacher and writer, carefully depicting a still controversial and painful time in the history of the United States, neither glorifying or blaming the deplorable conditions and treatments endured by African Americans. Which is appropriate, as the focus of the book is the struggle to get an education and the difficulties that act, that so many of us take for granted, entailed.

Few details about his private life are unveiled here, but his career and the politics of the day are covered, including Washington’s separate but equal belief, the controversy over his friendship with Roosevelt and his difference of opinion with fellow writer W.E.B Du Bios.

Pivotal scenes are selected for rough black and white illustrations to add to the text: young Booker fanning the residents of the “big house” while they feast, Booker addressing attendees at the Cotton States and International Exposition in Atlanta GA. The bibliography contains mainly primary source material including two of Washington’s own books. No timeline or photos make this a secondary choice for school reports.

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