Up the Learning Tree

Up the Learning Tree

by Marcia Vaugh
     
 
Henry Bell is not allowed to learn to read and write. In fact, most enslaved children, like him, are severely punished if they are even caught with a book. But Henry is curious. He suspects there is something powerful in books, and he wants to know what it is.One day Henry finishes his chores quickly, then runs to the schoolhouse. He hides in a sycamore tree just as

Overview

Henry Bell is not allowed to learn to read and write. In fact, most enslaved children, like him, are severely punished if they are even caught with a book. But Henry is curious. He suspects there is something powerful in books, and he wants to know what it is.One day Henry finishes his chores quickly, then runs to the schoolhouse. He hides in a sycamore tree just as the teacher begins reading a story. His heart pounds as he listens with astonishment, and right then he makes up his mind to learn to read. Henry's fierce determination and bravery in the face of serious consequences lead him to a special friendship, and a journey of discovery that changes his life forever.Set in the pre-Civil War South, Up the Learning Tree is a story of hope and humanity during difficult times, and a poignant reminder that the freedom to learn should never be taken for granted.Marcia Vaughan was inspired to write Up the Learning Tree after reading Civil War-era oral histories of former enslaved people, many of whom risked their lives to learn to read and write.

Editorial Reviews

School Library Journal
Gr 2-4-Henry Bell walks young Master Simon to and from school every day. Education is forbidden to the Grismore slaves, but Henry seizes the opportunity to learn what he can anyway. He finishes his work early and rushes back to the schoolhouse, where he climbs a sycamore tree and eavesdrops on the lessons. The other children write their work on slates, but Henry uses the branches of his tree instead, carving letters and words into the bark. Simon's teacher notices Henry's efforts and risks everything to help him study, eventually losing her job and getting run out of town. But by then, Henry knows enough to continue his education on his own. Vaughan's text relates the child's bold, determined struggle to learn in spare but descriptive language. Blanks's dense, deep oil paintings subtly juxtapose the lush, green grass around the schoolhouse and in the leaves of Henry's tree against the hard, red clay around the Grismore plantation. This inspiring collaboration makes a solid contribution to most collections.-Catherine Threadgill, Charleston County Public Library, SC Copyright 2003 Reed Business Information.

Product Details

ISBN-13:
9781600604454
Publisher:
Lee & Low Books, Inc.
Publication date:
05/01/2002
Pages:
32
Sales rank:
460,595
Product dimensions:
8.13(w) x (h) x 10.75(d)
Lexile:
AD660L (what's this?)
Age Range:
8 - 9 Years

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