Cover image for Those building men
Those building men
Johnson, Angela.
Personal Author:
Publication Information:
New York : Blue Sky Press, [2001]

Physical Description:
32 unnumbered pages : color illustrations ; 32 cm
Recalls the unheralded men whose labors served to build the canals, roads, railroads, bridges, and towering buildings of the United States.
Reading Level:
AD 420 Lexile.
Program Information:
Accelerated Reader AR LG 2.6 0.5 50097.

Reading Counts RC K-2 2.1 1 Quiz: 23935 Guided reading level: M.
Added Author:
Format :


Call Number
Material Type
Home Location
Item Holds
PIC.BK. Juvenile Fiction Oversize
PIC.BK. Juvenile Fiction Childrens Area-Picture Books
PIC.BK. Juvenile Fiction Picture Books

On Order



Here is a testament to the remarkable men from common walks of life who built the marvels of American civilization. These individuals, who are largely forgotten in history books, built the Erie Canal, the great railroads, and the tallest of skyscrapers. The poetic text and detailed watercolor illustrations make the story, struggles, and strength of these unsung heroes come to life. An author's note describes how America was largely built on the backs of courageous immigrant communities.

Author Notes

Angela Johnson was born on June 18, 1961 in Tuskegee, Alabama. She attended Kent State University and worked with Volunteers in Service to America (VISTA) as a child development worker. She has written numerous children's books including Tell Me a Story, Mama, Shoes like Miss Alice, Looking for Red, A Cool Moonlight and Lily Brown's Paintings. She won the Coretta Scott King Author's Award three times for Toning the Sweep in 1994, for Heaven in 1999, and for The First Part Last in 2004, which also won the Michael L. Printz Award. In 2003, she was named a MacArthur fellow.

(Bowker Author Biography)

Reviews 2

Booklist Review

Ages 6^-9, younger for reading aloud. Johnson's poem muses on the men who moved the earth for canals, laid steel for rail tracks, cut down trees for building. Moser's muscular images are big and bold: Irish and African American, Italian and Navajo, young and grizzled men inhabit these scenes. A plank road, a railway survey, a cabled bridge show the fruits of these men's labors, and a note at the end pays tribute to the builders. Youngsters may need some encouragement to get in tune with the somber images and the quiet words, but they will see the sweat and grit it took to build the world as we now see it: crisscrossed with roads and ways, glittering with tall buildings and the sweep of bridges. --GraceAnne A. DeCandido

School Library Journal Review

Gr 2-5-This poetic tribute praises and remembers the men, "the fathers," who built the bridges, railroads, roads, and buildings in America. They came from far away, looked ahead to linking the waters, moving the earth, channeling the swamps, and creating walls of steel, and when they were done, they'd say "Ain't that something." Moser's large, dramatic, sun-bleached watercolors depict young men in undershirts, far-looking old men in beaten-up hats, Native American skywalkers, African-American drillers and muleskinners, all seen working against the pale blue washed sky. Readers may be intrigued by the book's suggestion that perhaps a relative of theirs could have been a builder long ago and ask about their own family history. The endnote states that oral tradition remembers many cultures at work building and that women who are not mentioned in the text nonetheless labored along with men. It is elegantly and symbolically illustrated with an old man in dress shoes and a suit resting peacefully in a hammock.-Susan Hepler, Burgundy Farm Country Day School, Alexandria, VA (c) Copyright 2010. Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.