Sunday, September 13, 2015

Poet: The Remarkable Story of George Moses Horton by Don Tate [Review & Giveaway]

ISBN: 9781561458257
My thoughts: It is always a joy and pleasure for me to learn a bit of the history of my home state - North Carolina. As with most states in the United States, we have a history of slavery of people - Africans, Irish, and others. Some were enslaved unwillingly as purchased and some willingly as indentured. Some of this history is heart-rending and terrifyingly sad. Some of it held hope, albeit in small measure, to those enslaved. This story is about one such enslaved individual in North Carolina - an African who was a "bought slave." It took place in Chatham Country which is next to Orange County where I lived for many years.

George Moses Horton hungered for knowledge and the ability to read and write. He had a head full of words roaming around forming stories and poems but no way to write them. Finally, he had an opportunity. Even though not freed and not able to purchase his freedom, he was allowed to go Chapel Hill - the home of the University of North Carolina, where he spoke poems to the young students for their sweethearts. Eventually he was taught to write his poems by one of the citizens of Chapel Hill.
George listening to others learn their ABCs
Though a Southern state, North Carolina was in many respects progressive in the concept that the slave, the African, could and should receive an education. Still flawed in action and concept, there were areas of North Carolina where free men of color lived, worked, and progressed. George Moses Horton was the first African-American to be published in America.

It is a joy to read of George Moses Horton's journey into the world of literacy and the happiness that reading brought to him.
Some of his poems were anti-slavery or about
the conditions they lived and worked under
The author, Don Tate, has written a super picture book biography for young children and young readers. This gives the opportunity to garner a bit of this period of history in our country and the resiliency of the enslaved peoples. I believe the author has written this story with pride of race for himself and pride of accomplishment for George Moses Horton.

The illustrations are done in an exaggerated style with softened yellows, greens, and browns. Horton's poems are displayed as background to the pictures on the two page spreads. Illustrations depict conditions and life as a slave prior to and during the Civil War. The text is advanced somewhat and may invoke further discussion and study on the part of young readers. This picture-book biography will fit well into history lessons of the period or for simply pleasure reading.

About the book: Born a slave, George Moses Horton taught himself to read, memorizing the poems he composed until he later learned to write. Hand-lettered excerpts of Horton’s writing amplify his successes and setbacks as he gains a reputation as a poet among students at the University of North Carolina, to whom he sold produce. Horton’s poems drew additional attention and were published (“Needless to say, it was a dangerous time for Horton, whose poems often protested slavery,” Tate writes in an afterword), but freedom remained elusive until the signing of the Emancipation Proclamation, when Horton was 66 years old. Tate’s mixed-media illustrations glow with bright greens and yellows, radiating a warmth, hope, and promise that echo this stirring biography’s closing message: “Words loosened the chains of bondage long before his last day as a slave.” Ages 6–10. Agent: Caryn Wiseman, Andrea Brown Literary Agency.
Begins September 13 & ENDS October 5 @ 12:01 a.m. ET. 
 Open for addresses in USA
If you have won this book from our sponsor, you are not eligible to win. If you have won the same prize on another blog, you are not eligible to win it again. Winner is subject to eligibility verification. 
a Rafflecopter giveaway
About the author: Don Tate is the illustrator of numerous critically acclaimed books for children. In 2013, he earned an Ezra Jack Keats New Writer Honor Award for his first picture book text, It Jes' Happened: When Bill Traylor Started to Draw. You can visit Don Tate’s website here.

DISCLOSURE: I was provided a complimentary copy by Peachtree Publishing to facilitate this review. Opinions are my own alone. I was not compensated for the review. The giveaway copy is provided by the publisher and will be sent directly to the winner.


  1. I don't have any family ancestors that were enslaved.

  2. My son would probably love the book About Arachnids.

  3. Nope. Sorry, my ancestors came over a little later than that. But this book looks really wonderful - lots of love put into it. I'll have to take a look at it.

  4. Wow! This looks like a great addition to our homeschool library! I'm always looking for biographies like this. Thanks for sharing this at Booknificent Thursday!

  5. I don't have any family ancestors that were enslaved.

  6. No i do not have a story to share but i would love to share this one with my grandson

  7. I would like to add What's the Time, Grandma Wolf? from peahtree to our book collection

  8. I don't think that any of my ancestors were enslaved, or enslaved anyone! This looks like a wonderful book!

  9. I learned he has a line of juvenile bed and bathroom products called KIDZ and he is a native of Des Moines, Iowa

  10. None of my ancestors were slaves but they were part of the Irish potato famine.

  11. I am in love with the illustrations! Thanks for sharing this wonderful book and giveaway on the hop.

  12. This looks a faboulous book and what a story. Via #LLBH


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