Weatherford, Carole Boston. Schomburg: The Man Who Built a Library. Eric Velasquez, Illus. Biography. Candlewick, 09/2017. 44pp. $16.99. 978-0-7636-8046-6. OUTSTANDING. GRADES 4-7.
This lushly illustrated biography of African American historian Arturo Schomburg is constructed as a series of free verse poems, each focusing on one aspect of the subject’s life. It begins with a poem on his book collecting, followed by two poems on his childhood, and then one describing his immigration from Puerto Rico, and so on. The final poems describe his work establishing what is now named the Schomburg Center for Research in Black Culture, a division of the New York Public Library. There are a few poems that focus not on Schomburg but on people he researched, such as Frederick Douglass and Paul Cuffee, and others with some African parentage including Beethoven and Audubon. Velasquez’s oils on watercolor paper illustrations are elegant, dramatic, and heroic. Visually striking with an engaging narrative, this biography has enough information for report writers but will just as likely appeal to those who enjoy history for recreational reading. The book concludes with a timeline, source notes, and bibliography.
Penny Peck, San Jose State University iSchool