Booker T. Washington: African-American Leader

Written by: Patricia and Fredrick McKissack

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When Booker T. Washington was a child, all he wanted to do was go to school. But he couldn’t. He was born a slave and put to work on a Virginia plantation as soon as he turned five years old. When slaves were freed during the Civil War, Booker and his family were left with no money and they didn’t know how to read or write. This book, part of the “Famous African Americans” series, tells the story of Booker’s determination to become educated.

When a school opened for black children, Booker jumped at the chance. He couldn’t go everyday because he had to work, too, but he read anything he could get his hands on. As he grew, he had a goal: he wanted to go to the first black college in Hampton, Virginia, even though it was 500 miles away. He walked, begged for rides, and hopped trains – it was a difficult journey, but he made it. He dedicated his whole life to education, first becoming a teacher, then principal, then community leader. In 1895, he landed on the national stage at the Atlanta Cotton Exposition and became a voice for a people that had to fight to be heard.

Themes of perseverance and overcoming all odds will leave a lasting impression with third grade readers. Authors Patricia and Fredrick McKissack present Washington’s story in short chapters mixed with archival photographs, mock-ups, and illustrations to support reading comprehension. The book fulfills common core standards for grades K-3 and provides a “Words to Know” section along with additional reading resources and age-appropriate websites. Other titles in this series can be found on the publisher’s website:

  • Booker TTITLE: Booker T. Washington: African-American Leader
  • AUTHOR: Patricia and Fredrick McKissack
  • PUBLISHER: Enslow Elementary / Enslow Publishers, Inc.
  • REVIEWER: Lauren Abbey Greenberg
  • FORMAT: Paperback: 24 pages
  • ISBN: 978-1-4644-0194-7
  • GENRE: Non-Fiction / Biography


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