The Buffalo Soldier

Overview

This heartwarming story of a buffalo soldier's service to his country during the Indian Wars and Spanish-American War reveals the many hardships these regiments faced. The African-American buffalo soldiers, nicknamed by the Cheyenne Indians because of their curly hair and bravery, joined the six black regiments commissioned by an act of Congress in 1866. These men, many of whom were former slaves, enlisted in the army to earn a steady income, acquire an education, and gain respect. They protected settlers from ...
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Overview

This heartwarming story of a buffalo soldier's service to his country during the Indian Wars and Spanish-American War reveals the many hardships these regiments faced. The African-American buffalo soldiers, nicknamed by the Cheyenne Indians because of their curly hair and bravery, joined the six black regiments commissioned by an act of Congress in 1866. These men, many of whom were former slaves, enlisted in the army to earn a steady income, acquire an education, and gain respect. They protected settlers from hostile Indians, rustlers, outlaws, and bandits and were known for their courage and dedication. Told through the soldier-narrator's voice, the details of one buffalo soldier's life, including what he ate, where he slept, the education he gained on and off the battlefield, and how he spent his hard-earned money, help create a personal and understandable slice of history.
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Editorial Reviews

Children's Literature - Trina Heidt
Right after slavery was ended in the United States, many African-American men signed up to join the army. They felt that even though they were free, they were no better off than they had been before. They still had no land, no money, no education, and not very many prospects for improving their lives. Joining the army, many reasoned, would be a good way to earn money to start a new life. Some who joined were assigned to cavalry units, and later became known as buffalo soldiers as much for their tenacity as for their coarse curly hair. This touching first person account of one buffalo soldier's service in the army, from beginning to end, takes readers from his days right after the Civil War ended up to the Spanish American war, riding with the Roughriders and Teddy Roosevelt, through to his grandson's service in World War II . Each page in this historically based fictional account chronicles important events in American history and tells, through one man's story, how the steadfast buffalo soldiers contributed to these events, to the growth of the country, and how they became a memorable part of our history.
School Library Journal
Gr 3-6-"They promise to pay me thirteen dollars a month. More money than that I never saw at once." This poetic narrative evokes the emotion of emancipation and the courage and endurance of a newly freed man who joins the U.S. Army, protecting new settlements from Indians and bandits while earning a living, an education, and the respect of his country. He worries about family left at home and takes pride in a paycheck, finding a new life but facing loneliness in a life lived apart from loved ones. "-Sally says she hopes my fingers freeze off so I can't sign up for five more years." Paired with watercolor illustrations, each spread echoes the daily life of a buffalo soldier. This brief story both informs and pulls at the heartstrings of readers as the retired man compares his experiences to those of his son fighting in World War II, while readers view the shadow of his former comrades riding past his porch rocker.-Mary Elam, Forman Elementary School, Plano, TX Copyright 2006 Reed Business Information.
Kirkus Reviews
Eloquent for all its brevity, this fictional soldier's reminiscence traces nearly the whole real history of the Buffalo Soldiers, from the Indian Wars to WWII, and is reinforced by both a meaty introduction and a closing bibliography. No longer a slave, but seeing no future in sharecropping, the narrator writes, "I walk to New Orleans and put by X on the line / when I hear tell the U.S. Army is looking for young Negro men / to serve on the Western frontier." Through the course of a decades-long career, he faces challenges from a drill sergeant "mean as a skunk" to attacks by bandits and Apache while escorting surveyors and settlers, recalling good times and bad, and even a charge up San Juan Hill in the Spanish American War. He closes with an old man's ruminations on the familiar sounding complaints of his grandson, who writes from another war about mean sergeants and bad food: "I just have to smile, and nod my head. / You see, once I was a soldier, too." Himler's full-bleed western scenes add proper amounts of drama, touches of humor and natural-looking details to this engrossing tribute. (Picture book/nonfiction. 8-10)
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9781589803916
  • Publisher: Pelican Publishing Company, Incorporated
  • Publication date: 8/28/2006
  • Pages: 32
  • Age range: 5 - 8 Years
  • Product dimensions: 8.80 (w) x 11.10 (h) x 0.40 (d)

Meet the Author

Sherry Garland has written thirty books and won more than forty awards, including an ALA Notable and a Reading Rainbow book selection. She enjoys writing about history and created her Voices Series to bring a personal note to pivotal moments in America's past. The series includes Voices of the Dust Bowl, Voices of Gettysburg, and Voices of the Alamo. Her other titles include Best Horse on the Force, The Buffalo Soldier, and Children of the Dragon: Selected Tales from Vietnam, available from Pelican. Garland is a member of the Society of Children's Book Writers and Illustrators. She lives in central Texas.

Ronald Himler has been illustrating children's books since 1971 and has over eighty books to his credit. His work has received numerous honors, including ALA Notables, the Society of Illustrators Silver Medal, and citations on the Texas Bluebonnet Award Master List.

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