Fifty Cents and a Dream

Fifty Cents and a Dream

Young Booker T. Washington

By Jabari Asim; Bryan Collier (Illustrator)

Little, Brown Books for Young Readers, Hardcover, 9780316086578, 1pp.

Publication Date: December 2012


Booker dreamed
of making friends with words,
setting free the secrets
that lived in books.

Born into slavery, young Booker T. Washington could only dream of learning to read and write. After emancipation, Booker began a five-hundred-mile journey, mostly on foot, to Hampton Institute, taking his first of many steps towards a college degree. When he arrived, he had just fifty cents in his pocket and a dream about to come true. The young slave who once waited outside of the schoolhouse would one day become a legendary educator of freedmen.

Award-winning artist Bryan Collier captures the hardship and the spirit of one of the most inspiring figures in American history, bringing to life Booker T. Washington's journey to learn, to read, and to realize a dream.

About the Author
Jabari Asim is the author of the critically acclaimed The N Word. He is editor-in-chief of The Crisis the magazine of the NAACP and former editor at and frequent contributor to the Washington Post, and his writing has appeared on and in Essence, the Los Angeles Times, and other publications. He divides his time between Maryland and Illinois with his wife and five children.

Bryan Collier is the Founding and Lead Pastor of The Orchard. He is a graduate of Mississippi State University and Asbury Theological Seminary. He hails from Etta, Mississippi and has been married to Wendy for over fifteen years. He is Olivia and Houston's Dad and in his spare time Bryan likes to read, ride bikes and attend Mississippi State sporting events. He lives in Tupelo, Mississippi.

Praise For Fifty Cents and a Dream

A School Library Journal 2012 Editor's Choice List
A Kirkus Best Children's Books List Selection
A Fall 2012 Parent's Choice Silver Award Winner
An NAACP Image Award Nominee
A 2013 CCBC Choices list selection

Praise for Fifty Cents and a Dream
*"Asim's lyrical text transforms the journey into a spiritual awakening for a young man who had 'a dream in his soul.' Collier is in brilliant Caldecott Honor style, using his signature watercolor paintings and cut-paper collage to incorporate elements from Booker's life and visions into each illustration...An outstanding achievement and a life worthy of note."
-Kirkus (starred review)

* "Collier's patterned and textured watercolor and paper collage paintings perfectly mirror the narrative...An inspirational life, memorably presented."
-School Library Journal (starred review)

* "Collier's (Dave the Potter) sophisticated design elements will have readers revisiting his extraordinary collages...Asim's (Boy of Mine) lyrical narrative is succinct yet illustrative, and, combined with the artwork, makes an impressive addition to any biography collection."
-Publishers Weekly (starred review)

"Booker T. Washington is often attacked for compromising with, rather than attacking, the political establishment, but in this handsome picture-book biography, the focus is on an amazing achievement in his youth, when he walked 500 miles from his West Virginia home 'without a single penny in his pocket' to make it to school."


"Everything about the bookmaking here-from the carefully chosen typography to the look of parchment paper to the endpapers taken from Webster's American Spelling Book-reverberates with the importance of books and learning."
-The Horn Book

"Remarkable...[a] triumph in picture book design...told with poetic and soulful candor."
-New York Times Book Review