Lincoln and Douglass: An American Friendshipby Nikki Giovanni
Our sixteenth president is known for many things: he delivered the Emancipation Proclamation and the Gettysburg Address during the Civil War. He was tall and skinny and notoriously stern-looking. And he also had some very strong ideas about abolishing slavery, ideas which brought him into close contact with another very visible public figure: Frederick
Our sixteenth president is known for many things: he delivered the Emancipation Proclamation and the Gettysburg Address during the Civil War. He was tall and skinny and notoriously stern-looking. And he also had some very strong ideas about abolishing slavery, ideas which brought him into close contact with another very visible public figure: Frederick Douglass. Douglass was born a slave but escaped in 1838 and became one of the central figures in the history of the American abolitionist movement.
This book offers a glimpse into the unusual friendship between two great American leaders. At a time when racial tensions were high and racial equality was not yet established, Abraham Lincoln and Douglass formed a strong bond over shared ideals and worked alongside each other for a common goal.
Nikki Giovanni and Bryan Collier, the acclaimed team behind Rosa, winner of the Coretta Scott King Award and a Caldecott Honor book, join forces once more to portray this historic friendship at a unique moment in time.
A dramatic double-page spread of the Emancipation Proclamation fast-forwards to a March evening in 1865 at the White House, where President and Mrs. Lincoln are hosting an inaugural ball and to which Frederick Douglass is an invited guest. Giovanni then goes back in time to Douglass's and Lincoln's childhoods, comparing and contrasting. It's then back to the ball via Harpers Ferry and the Civil War. The text, already disjointed, even devotes two pages to John Brown and Mary Ellen Pleasant (who helped raise money for Brown), further fracturing the narrative. Collier's large paintings are dramatic, particularly one of soldiers in grey fighting soldiers in blue and another of a slave looking out from the divided pieces of an American flag. Unfortunately, both Lincoln and Douglass are depicted with oddly shaped faces and strange hairdos, which often resemble toupées. The stiff dialogue is unsourced by any notes. It's the season for Lincolnalia, but this team, who collaborated successfully on Rosa (2005), fail to present a focused work that will be meaningful to children. (timeline) (Picture book. 4-7)
Meet the Author
Nikki Giovanni is one of our best-known and best-loved African American poets. She is the author of Rosa, which won the Coretta Scott King Award and a Caldecott Honor, as well many other books for children and adults. She teaches creative writing at Virginia Tech and lives in Christiansburg, Virginia.
Bryan Collier is the illustrator of the acclaimed Rosa and the author/illustrator of Uptown, winner of the Coretta Scott King Award and the Ezra Jack Keats Book Award. He is also the illustrator of Martin's Big Words, which was a Caldecott Honor Book. Mr. Collier lives with his family in New York.
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