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A Noble Life

by David A. Adler

Age Range: 10 & up

Pub Date: July 15th, 2010
ISBN: 978-0-8234-2056-8
Publisher: Holiday House

Adler reports the life and times of the noted abolitionist in an attractive volume following an earlier treatment for younger readers (A Picture Book of Frederick Douglass, illustrated by Samuel Byrd, 1993). After an opening scene in which Douglass fights back against his cruel master, Edward Covey, the straightforward narrative proceeds with a birth-to-death portrait of the great American, from slavery to the lecture circuit, John Brown, the Civil War, marriage and later years. Archival photographs, engravings, posters, advertisements, newspaper articles and a page from a draft of Lincoln’s preliminary Emancipation Proclamation complement the text, which, like many biographies for young readers that earnestly portray the noble and heroic, doesn’t explore the complexities that make history interesting. Douglass’s relationship with President Lincoln, for example, was more problematic than presented here—Douglass more critical, Lincoln playing closer to the vest. The great strength of this well-documented work is the use of Douglass’s own words in the telling, making him come alive for young readers. An important resource, despite flaws. (timeline, source notes, bibliography, picture credits, index) (Nonfiction. 10 & up)