From the beginning, this book with its captivating color and black and white photographs will grab your attention. Rediger has gathered together several African-American authors. Her list includes such greats as Ralph Ellison, Zora Neale Hurston, James Baldwin, Alice Walker, and Mildred Taylor. Each of these authors' early life is discussed as well as their special achievements. Rediger mentions the obstacles each person surmounted and how their passion for writing fueled their success. Some of these short biographies include a brief description of an author's book. The book's format and design makes good use of sidebars and inserts and in so doing, avoids cluttered pages. Unfortunately, there is only one author in the collection who writes specifically for children. In addition, the text is written for older readers and some of the challenges that the authors faced are adult challenges.
School Library Journal
Gr 3-6Three well-written biographical profiles of seven notables in each of three fields, plus six shorter (three pages) biographies. The longer entries (six pages each) cover early years, skills developed, obstacles overcome, a personality profile, record of accomplishments, and special interests. Several quotes from each person are also prominently displayed in each featured biography. A number of well-known people are included in each title: Maya Angelou, Alex Haley, Alice Walker, Ralph Abernathy, Thurgood Marshall, John H. Johnson, Naomi Sims, Oprah Winfrey, Mildred Taylor, and Ernest Gaines to name a few. How or why the length of the entry was determined is not addressed, and many of these people seem to have equal importance in their fields. While the writing is informative, it is the candid photos that stand out. The attractive layout features a good balance of color, white space, photos, and text. Useful for reports and recreational reading.Eunice Weech, M. L. King Elementary School, Urbana, IL