Fifty Cents and a Dream
Young Booker T. Washington
Publication Date: December 2012
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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.
Jabari Asim is an associate professor of writing at Emerson College and a recipient of the prestigious Guggenheim Fellowship. He has written for the Washington Post and is the editor of the NCAAP magazine, The Crisis. He lives in Boston, with his wife and five children.
Bryan Collier began painting at the age of fifteen and earned a B.F.A. with honors from the Pratt Institute in New York. He has illustrated over 20 picture books and has won numerous awards, including three Caldecott Honors. He lives with his wife and children in Marlboro, New York.
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