SCHOMBURG: THE MAN WHO BUILT A LIBRARY
by Carol Boston Weatherford (author) and Eric Velasquez (illustrator)
Picture book for ages 7 – adult
Candlewick Press: 2017
Can you imagine building a library? I can and I’ve found my inspiration.
Arturo Alfonso Schomburg was an amazing man unfamiliar to most people. But, everyone should know his story and the recently published picture book biography, Schomburg: The Man Who Built a Library, is a wonderful introduction to this important collector-historian- researcher-bibliophile.
Written in free verse with luminous illustrations that glow on the page, we meet this Afro-Puerto Rican man who set out to find and preserve the history of those of African descent. As a child growing up in Puerto Rico, Arturo was told by his teachers that people of African descent “Had no history and no heroes worth noting.” He knew this couldn’t be true and it sparked his life long search to find, preserve, and share the history of his people.
In 1891, seventeen-year-old Arturo Schomburg immigrated to New York. He was unable to pursue his desired career in law or medicine because his school records had been destroyed by a fire. He worked and excelled as a law clerk because of his keen memory. When not working, he passionately searched for and collected letters, pamphlets, books, music, and art from the African diaspora. Arturo became an integral part of the Harlem Renaissance, helping authors and artists in their hunt for references and information. He wrote and spoke about African’s place in world history. Without his diligent searching, much of this history would have been lost.
When his collection grew so large that it nearly took over his house, he approached the New York Public Library. The library lacked the funds to buy and house the collection but the Carnegie Corporation bought it and donated all the materials to the library where it became the heart of Harlem.
Not only is the life story and passion of Schomburg explored within the pages, but the black heroes that he researched are introduced in this powerful book including inventor Benjamin Banneker, poet Phillis Wheatley, abolitionist Frederick Douglass, revolutionary Nat Turner, and many more.
Schomburg: the Man Who Built a Library is not just a book for young people but it should be a starting point for all people to learn about people who had been written out of history. It should be on everyone’s reading list and is a must for school and public libraries.
As a lover of books and libraries and a person who knows the importance of one’s history, I am thankful to have been given the opportunity to read Schomburg: The Man Who Built a Library as part of Multicultural Children’s Book Day. I am also grateful to Candlewick Press for publishing this important book and for giving me a copy to review.
(Illustrations copyright by Eric Velasquez)
For more information visit the New York Public Library’s Schomburg Center for Research in Back Culture
Multicultural Children’s Book Day 2017 (1/27/18) is in its 5th year and was founded by Valarie Budayr from Jump Into A Book and Mia Wenjen from PragmaticMom. Our mission is to raise awareness of the ongoing need to include kids’ books that celebrate diversity in home and school bookshelves while also working diligently to get more of these types of books into the hands of young readers, parents and educators.
Current Sponsors: MCBD 2018 is honored to have some amazing Sponsors on board.
2018 MCBD Medallion Sponsors
PLATINUM:Scholastic Book Clubs
BRONZE: Barefoot Books, Carole P. Roman, Charlesbridge Publishing, Dr. Crystal Bowe, Gokul! World, Green Kids Club, Gwen Jackson, Jacqueline Woodson, Juan J. Guerra, Language Lizard, Lee & Low Books, RhymeTime Storybooks, Sanya Whittaker Gragg, TimTimTom Books, WaterBrook & Multnomah, Wisdom Tales Press
2018 Author Sponsors
Author Janet Balletta, Author Susan Bernardo, Author Carmen Bernier-Grand, Author Tasheba Berry-McLaren and Space2Launch, Bollywood Groove Books, Author Anne Broyles, Author Kathleen Burkinshaw, Author Eugenia Chu, Author Lesa Cline-Ransome, Author Medeia Cohan and Shade 7 Publishing, Desi Babies, Author Dani Dixon and Tumble Creek Press, Author Judy Dodge Cummings, Author D.G. Driver, Author Nicole Fenner and Sister Girl Publishing, Debbi Michiko Florence, Author Josh Funk, Author Maria Gianferrari, Author Daphnie Glenn, Globe Smart Kids, Author Kimberly Gordon Biddle, Author Quentin Holmes, Author Esther Iverem, Jennifer Joseph: Alphabet Oddities, Author Kizzie Jones, Author Faith L Justice , Author P.J. LaRue and MysticPrincesses.com, Author Karen Leggett Abouraya, Author Sylvia Liu, Author Sherri Maret, Author Melissa Martin Ph.D., Author Lesli Mitchell, Pinky Mukhi and We Are One, Author Miranda Paul, Author Carlotta Penn, Real Dads Read, Greg Ransom, Author Sandra L. Richards, RealMVPKids Author Andrea Scott, Alva Sachs and Three Wishes Publishing, Shelly Bean the Sports Queen, Author Sarah Stevenson, Author Gayle H. Swift Author Elsa Takaoka, Author Christine Taylor-Butler, Nicholette Thomas and MFL Publishing Author Andrea Y. Wang, Author Jane Whittingham Author Natasha Yim
We’d like to also give a shout-out to MCBD’s impressive CoHost Team who not only hosts the book review link-up on celebration day, but who also works tirelessly to spread the word of this event. View our CoHosts HERE.
TWITTER PARTY Sponsored by Scholastic Book Clubs: MCBD’s super-popular (and crazy-fun) annual Twitter Party will be held 1/27/18 at 9:00pm.
Join the conversation and win one of 12-5 book bundles and one Grand Prize Book Bundle (12 books) that will be given away at the party! http://multiculturalchildrensbookday.com/twitter-party-great-conversations-fun-prizes-chance-readyourworld-1-27-18/
Free Multicultural Books for Teachers: http://bit.ly/1kGZrta
Free Empathy Classroom Kit for Homeschoolers, Organizations, Librarians and Educators: http://multiculturalchildrensbookday.com/teacher-classroom-empathy-kit/
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