I'm linking up with Collaboration Cuties for their weekly Mentor Text Memo. I have always loved the book More Than Anything Else about Booker T. Washington. My Daddy used to call me "Booker T." and ask me where the M.G.s were (apparently a band - Booker T and the M. G.s was popular in the sixties) when I was little, and still does every once in a while.
That bit of randomness really has nothing to do with why I love this book, but it's funny how text-to-self connections come to mind when you're writing about books. Back to the story...
"A fictionalized story about the life of young Booker T. Washington. Living in a West Virginia settlement after emancipation, nine-year-old Booker travels by lantern light to the salt works, where he labors from dawn till dusk. Although his stomach rumbles, his real hunger is his intense desire to learn to read. A moving and inspirational story." - School Library Journal, starred review
Not only is this book absolutely beautifully illustrated, it is heart-wrenching to read of the life of young Booker T. Washington, as he works in the salt mines alongside his father, with the salt cutting into his tender young hands. After dark, when it's safer, young Booker practices learning to read words written in the dirt with a stick. I use this story to introduce biographies, discuss equal rights, study Black History Month, and to remind my students of how lucky they really are to have the right to education. It's moving enough to get through to the toughest kids I've ever taught, making them think twice, even if for only a moment, about being lucky to be in school!
With the common core standards' being implemented, there are so many ways to use this book. Of course, there is close reading, for vocabulary, for the facts about Booker T. Washington, for biographical elements, and for how their thinking changes from before their reading to after.
And be sure to drop by for Monday Made-It tomorrow. I can't wait to show you my up-cycled Goodwill and Salvation Army finds, including a chevron nightmare!