Gift Guide

More than Anything Else

( 1 )


Nine-year old Booker works with his father and brother at the saltworks but dreams of the day when he'll be able to read.

Nine-year-old Booker works with his father and brother at the saltworks but dreams of the day when he'll be able to read.

Read More Show Less
... See more details below
$12.79 price
(Save 24%)$16.99 List Price

Pick Up In Store

Reserve and pick up in 60 minutes at your local store

Other sellers (Hardcover)
  • All (30) from $1.99   
  • New (8) from $6.17   
  • Used (22) from $1.99   
Note: Kids' Club Eligible. See More Details.
Sending request ...


Nine-year old Booker works with his father and brother at the saltworks but dreams of the day when he'll be able to read.

Nine-year-old Booker works with his father and brother at the saltworks but dreams of the day when he'll be able to read.

Read More Show Less

Editorial Reviews

Children's Literature - Jan Lieberman
Set is 1865 in West Virginia, Booker, 9, is consumed by a desire to read. There is no one who works in the salt mines who can read. Only his mother understands his dream. One day he hears a newspaperman reading aloud and for the fist time he knows "hope" and says, "It is brown like me." This story packs a powerful wallop through the simplicity and eloquence of the text and the drama of the lantern lit paintings which cast a golden hue on each scene. This is based on the life of the famous African American educator Booker T. Washington.
Children's Literature - Marilyn Courtot
The sky is dark, but two young boys and an older man with shovels over their shoulders are heading off by lantern light to the salt works. Thus begins the story of Booker T. Washington, who set out each day hungry for food and hungry for an education. "More than anything else," he wanted to learn to read. Then one day he sees a man reading a newspaper to folks gathered around him. He seeks out the newspaper man who teaches him the meaning of the letters and how to write his name. Beautiful double-page watercolors use campfire, candle, and lantern light to highlight facial expressions that match the story perfectly. When Booker jumps for joy, you know that nothing will stop him from being "the one children will crowd around," so he can teach them to read.
School Library Journal
PreS-Gr 3A fictionalized story about the life of young Booker T. Washington. Living in a West Virginia settlement after emancipation, nine-year-old Booker travels by lantern light to the salt works, where he labors from dawn till dusk. Although his stomach rumbles, his real hunger is his intense desire to learn to read. Back in town, the boy sees a man reading aloud from a newspaper; he envisions himself possessing this magical knowledge and passing it on to others. When his mother presents him with an alphabet book, he studies the letters and ``...tries to imagine their song.'' Just when he is feeling frustrated, he finds the newspaper man, who explains the letters. An exuberant Booker throws his arms in the air, then settles down to learn how to write his name. Bradby's text is eloquent, presenting phrases and spinning images that capture the intense feelings in the story. Throughout the poetic narrative, Booker glows with his desire to read, and the inspiring tone of the language predicts a bright future. Soentpiet's watercolors create a realistic sense of time and place, perfectly matching the emotional level of the text. Booker awkwardly lifting a heavy shovel of salt, his straight-backed posture when accepting the book from his mother, his look of concentration while practicing his letters by candlelight, his face shining with satisfaction when he has written his nameall of these images, underscored by a dramatic use of shadow and light, work with the words to create a moving and inspirational story.Joy Fleishhacker, New York Public Library
Hazel Rochman
The spare, lovely narrative of this picture book, based on the childhood of Booker T. Washington, is in the voice of a nine-year-old boy. He tells of leaving his cabin before dark to work all day shoveling salt with his father and older brother: "All day long we shovel it, but it refuses to grow smaller." Despite the community poverty and toil, there's a sense of freedom now, something different: "All people are free to go where they want and do what they can." What Booker wants is to read. Finally, he finds someone to teach him his letters, and it's as if he's reborn. He will read, and he'll teach others to read. Soentpiet's beautiful watercolor paintings show individual portraits lit up from the surrounding darkness. There's some idealization: even in the saltworks the pictures focus not on the back-breaking, skin-tearing labor, but on the child's view of himself and his world. Booker dreams of the light of literacy and the freedom it will bring. The story will hold kids and make them want to find out more about the person and the history.
Read More Show Less

Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780531094648
  • Publisher: Scholastic, Inc.
  • Publication date: 9/1/1995
  • Pages: 32
  • Sales rank: 282,166
  • Age range: 4 - 8 Years
  • Lexile: 660L (what's this?)
  • Product dimensions: 8.78 (w) x 10.36 (h) x 0.33 (d)

Table of Contents

Booker says, "I want to learn to read."

Few people around him in Malden, West Virginia -- in their small settlement to which the family moves in the fall of 1865, or in the nearby saltworks where Booker, his brother, and their father toil from dark to dark -- few people are able to read. Who has had the chance to learn?

But Booker, age nine, finds the chance, and takes it.

Here, in eloquent words and dramatic, lantern-lit paintings, is a tribute to dreaming - and to the young life of Booker T. Washington.

Read More Show Less

Customer Reviews

Average Rating 5
( 1 )
Rating Distribution

5 Star


4 Star


3 Star


2 Star


1 Star


Your Rating:

Your Name: Create a Pen Name or

Barnes & Review Rules

Our reader reviews allow you to share your comments on titles you liked, or didn't, with others. By submitting an online review, you are representing to Barnes & that all information contained in your review is original and accurate in all respects, and that the submission of such content by you and the posting of such content by Barnes & does not and will not violate the rights of any third party. Please follow the rules below to help ensure that your review can be posted.

Reviews by Our Customers Under the Age of 13

We highly value and respect everyone's opinion concerning the titles we offer. However, we cannot allow persons under the age of 13 to have accounts at or to post customer reviews. Please see our Terms of Use for more details.

What to exclude from your review:

Please do not write about reviews, commentary, or information posted on the product page. If you see any errors in the information on the product page, please send us an email.

Reviews should not contain any of the following:

  • - HTML tags, profanity, obscenities, vulgarities, or comments that defame anyone
  • - Time-sensitive information such as tour dates, signings, lectures, etc.
  • - Single-word reviews. Other people will read your review to discover why you liked or didn't like the title. Be descriptive.
  • - Comments focusing on the author or that may ruin the ending for others
  • - Phone numbers, addresses, URLs
  • - Pricing and availability information or alternative ordering information
  • - Advertisements or commercial solicitation


  • - By submitting a review, you grant to Barnes & and its sublicensees the royalty-free, perpetual, irrevocable right and license to use the review in accordance with the Barnes & Terms of Use.
  • - Barnes & reserves the right not to post any review -- particularly those that do not follow the terms and conditions of these Rules. Barnes & also reserves the right to remove any review at any time without notice.
  • - See Terms of Use for other conditions and disclaimers.
Search for Products You'd Like to Recommend

Recommend other products that relate to your review. Just search for them below and share!

Create a Pen Name

Your Pen Name is your unique identity on It will appear on the reviews you write and other website activities. Your Pen Name cannot be edited, changed or deleted once submitted.

Your Pen Name can be any combination of alphanumeric characters (plus - and _), and must be at least two characters long.

Continue Anonymously
Sort by: Showing 1 Customer Reviews
  • Posted April 28, 2009

    more from this reviewer

    More Than Anything Else

    This delightful read aloud is an enchanting story of how George Washington Carver taught himself to read with the help of a few people in his community. One never to give up, he wanted to read "more than anything else" and pursued that dream with a passion! Beautiful pictures by Chris K. Soentpiet more than add to the story, they tell the story! This is a can't miss, especially for assistance in inspiring reluctant readers to pick up a book and hone their reading skills!

    0 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
Sort by: Showing 1 Customer Reviews

If you find inappropriate content, please report it to Barnes & Noble
Why is this product inappropriate?
Comments (optional)