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E185.97.S36 W43 2017 Juvenile Non-Fiction Biography
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E185.97.S36 W43 2017 Juvenile Non-Fiction Biography
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E185.97.S36 W43 2017 Juvenile Non-Fiction Biography
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E185.97.S36 W43 2017 Juvenile Non-Fiction Biography
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E185.97.S36 W43 2017 Juvenile Non-Fiction Biography
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Summary

Summary

In luminous paintings and arresting poems, two of children's literature's top African-American scholars track Arturo Schomburg's quest to correct history.

Where is our historian to give us our side? Arturo asked.

Amid the scholars, poets, authors, and artists of the Harlem Renaissance stood an Afro-Puerto Rican named Arturo Schomburg. This law clerk's life's passion was to collect books, letters, music, and art from Africa and the African diaspora and bring to light the achievements of people of African descent through the ages. When Schomburg's collection became so big it began to overflow his house (and his wife threatened to mutiny), he turned to the New York Public Library, where he created and curated a collection that was the cornerstone of a new Negro Division. A century later, his groundbreaking collection, known as the Schomburg Center for Research in Black Culture, has become a beacon to scholars all over the world.


Author Notes

Carole Boston Weatherford is a New York Times best-selling author and poet. Her numerous books for children include the Coretta Scott King Author Award Honor Book Becoming Billie Holiday, illustrated by Floyd Cooper, and the Caldecott Honor Books Moses: When Harriet Tubman Led Her People to Freedom, illustrated by Kadir Nelson, and Voice of Freedom: Fannie Lou Hamer, Spirit of the Civil Rights Movement, illustrated by Ekua Holmes. Carole Boston Weatherford lives in Highpoint, North Carolina.

Eric Velasquez is the illustrator of numerous books for children, including several previous collaborations with Carole Boston Weatherford. He won the John Steptoe New Talent Illustrator Award for his illustrations of The Piano Man, written by Debbi Chocolate. Eric Velasquez is also the author-illustrator of the Pura Belpré Illustrator Award-winning Grandma's Gift. Born in Harlem, he lives and works in Hartsdale, New York.


Reviews 3

Booklist Review

*Starred Review* Lifelong bibliophile Arturo Schomburg would be pleased by Weatherford's prose-poem biography, which praises his passion for researching and collecting books, manuscripts, and other written materials relating to black heritage and history. A Puerto Rico-born New Yorker, Schomburg's quest began when he was a student. Meticulous, he continued his avocation while working as a law clerk in New York City. The centerpiece of the book is a poem called Whitewash, in which Schomburg reflects on a number of famous people with historically unacknowledged African roots: John James Audubon, Alexandre Dumas, Alexander Pushkin, and even Ludwig van Beethoven, whose mother was thought to be a Moor from North Africa (So when genius was black, skin color was left out). Velasquez's portraits of these talents are consistently heroic, while pictures of Schomburg himself, a man of positive stature and bearing, are warm and full of pride. His personal story (three marriages, time at Fisk University, and a place in the Harlem Renaissance) is woven seamlessly with info about those men and women he researched. A time line, source notes, and a bibliography are included, useful for those, like Schomburg himself, who like to seek out more material. As with her previous book Voice of Freedom (2015), Weatherford illuminates a person well worth knowing. A rich book to add to all collections.--Cruze, Karen Copyright 2017 Booklist


Publisher's Weekly Review

In graceful free verse, Weatherford delivers a remarkable tribute to Arturo Schomburg, the Afro-Puerto Rican historian, collector, and activist who unearthed the hidden history and achievements of "Africa's sons and daughters." In addition to charting the path Schomburg's life took after emigrating to the U.S. from Puerto Rico, she gives ample attention to the knowledge he uncovered as he amassed books: "Schomburg chased the truth and turned up icons/ whose African heritage had been whitewashed," among them John James Audubon, Alexandre Dumas, and Alexander Pushkin, all of whom are captured with vibrancy and life in Velasquez's oil portraits. Schomburg's ambitions, scholarship, and accomplishments were tremendous-"There was no field of human endeavor/ that he did not till with his determined hand"-and Weatherford and Velasquez more than do justice to them. Ages 9-12. Agent: Rubin Pfeffer, Rubin Pfeffer Content. (Sept.) © Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved.


School Library Journal Review

Gr 3-6-Born in 1874, Afro-Puerto Rican Arturo Schomburg's sense of wonder was stoked early on by listening to el lector, who read aloud from newspapers and novels to the cigar workers Schomburg kept company. When a teacher asserted that "Africa's sons and daughters" had no history or heroes worth noting, it sparked Schomburg's lifelong quest to uncover his people's stories, "correcting history for generations to come." He immigrated to New York in 1891, and though stymied in his hopes to pursue higher education, began amassing a collection of Africana books and art. Through text and art, Weatherford and Velasquez craft a winning portrait of both collector and his collection. Oversize oil-on-watercolor paintings accompany each page of text: one arresting image finds young Schomburg immersed in a book, with a portrait of Benjamin Bannecker hanging above his shoulder. Velasquez captures Schomburg's proud bearing and intent focus. His research led to writers and poets, including Frederick Douglass and poet Phillis Wheatley; revolutionaries like Toussaint Louverture; and luminaries whose "African heritage had been whitewashed," including John James Audubon and Ludwig van Beethoven. By day, Schomburg worked as a mailroom clerk, but his collecting and scholarship introduced him to members of the Harlem Renaissance, such as Langston Hughes and Countee Cullen. Schomburg's collection was donated to the New York Public Library and now boasts over 10 million items. VERDICT This excellent work of history illuminates Schomburg and his legendary collection for a new generation-it belongs in all public and school libraries.-Marilyn Taniguchi, Beverly Hills Public Library, CA © Copyright 2017. Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.