Illustrations by Nicole Tadgell
Publisher: Albert Whitman & Company
Release Date: September 1, 2014
Booker T. Washington loved to learn. Born a slave and self-taught, Washington's dream of attending school went further than anything he imagined. After taking on a teaching job in Tuskegee, Alabama, Washington finds many eager students but no school. Working together, Washington and his students built the school--brick by brick. It was a lot of work. Some wanted to give up. But Washington knew how important it was and, as with everything, he made his students work hard to achieve their dreams.
You know how there is information that you know you learned in school, but until you actually read something about it, you don't remember that you know it? That is the case with Booker T. Washington. I remember, vaguely, lessons about Washington, his school, his achievements, but if you had asked me who he was before I read this book, I would have been hard pressed to come up with something concrete. Which just goes to show that we are always learning.
Very well laid out, With Books and Bricks focuses on Washington's dream and the obstacles that he had to transverse in order to achieve them. The author navigates Washington's nuanced life in a way that is easily accessible to young children, while not getting bogged down in politics and controversy. The watercolor illustrations, while muted, played on the 'brick' color palate, making the images an extension of the title and content.