Books by Joel Strangis

Released: Feb. 15, 1999

The first full-length biography of an escaped slave who became a leader in Boston's African-American community, this brilliant combination of clear thinking, crisp writing, and carefully mapped research presents a picture of a man who was more doer than dreamer. Attributing Hayden's low historical profile to the fact that he was neither a fiery orator nor an eloquent writer, Strangis reconstructs his life from a range of authoritative sources, giving him belated due as a militant abolitionist, a tireless conductor on the Underground Railroad who was instrumental both in making Boston too hot for slave catchers in the 1850s, and in the creation of Massachusetts's renowned black military units during the Civil War. Hayden's association with many leading abolitionists, from William Lloyd Garrison to John Brown, also provides opportunity for a good look at that movement's various philosophies and methods; readers interested in the subject will find the appended bibliographical essay an enticing gateway to documentary material and recent books. An essential volume. (index, not seen, b&w reproductions, chronology, notes) (Biography. 12-15) Read full book review >
GRANDFATHER'S ROCK by Joel Strangis
CHILDREN'S
Released: Sept. 1, 1993

A tale similar in theme to Grimms' ``The Wooden Bowl.'' Grandfather is too old to care for himself, so Father takes him in, though the family is so poor they have scarcely enough food. ``He fed me before I could work,'' he says. ``Now that he cannot work, I will feed him.'' Everyone loves the old man's stories- -especially the children, who forget their tasks to listen. Still, life is so hard that Father finally agrees to take the old man to the old people's home. Sorrowfully, the children carry his things, making a plan along the way. When they stop to rest, they tell Father that years hence, when they're taking him to the home, they'll pause at the same rock. Point made, they turn joyfully for home. ``But what will we tell Mother?'' Suddenly, the children realize that, if they share the work, there will be enough for all. Strangis's narration of this wise, gentle story is gracefully straightforward; Gamper depicts her native land in lively, elegantly patterned watercolors, capturing the lovely landscape and family dynamics with equal facility. This isn't every family's answer; but its generosity is still worth pondering. (Folklore/Picture book. 4-9) Read full book review >