|Schomburg : the man who built a library|
Author: Weatherford, Carole Boston
In the Harlem Renaissance a law clerk's life's passion was to collect books, letters, music, and art from Africa. His collection, known as the Schomburg Center for Research in Black Culture, has become a beacon to scholars all over the world.
|Accelerated Reader Information:|
Interest Level: LG
Reading Level: 6.90
Points: 1.0 Quiz: 193117
|Reading Counts Information:|
Interest Level: 3-5
Reading Level: 10.40
Points: 4.0 Quiz: 72406
Kirkus Reviews (+) (06/15/17)
School Library Journal (+) (08/01/17)
Booklist (+) (07/01/17)
The Hornbook (00/09/17)
Full Text Reviews:
Booklist - 07/01/2017 *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. - Copyright 2017 Booklist.
School Library Journal - 08/01/2017 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 Publishers Weekly, Library Journal and/or School Library Journal used with permission.