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BEN AND THE EMANCIPATION PROCLAMATION by Pat Sherman

BEN AND THE EMANCIPATION PROCLAMATION

By Pat Sherman (Author) , Floyd Cooper (Illustrator)

Age Range: 5 - 8

Pub Date: Jan. 1st, 2010
ISBN: 978-0-8028-5319-6
Publisher: Eerdmans

Benjamin Holmes was a young slave in Charleston just before the Civil War who, with some help from his father and a great deal of drive, teaches himself to read. Sherman invents dialogue to flesh out his childhood and his sure knowledge that his skills had to be kept secret. His supreme moment comes when he reads the Emancipation Proclamation to a group of fellow slaves who had been imprisoned after their masters fled at the approach of the Union Army. The story and its telling are inspirational, and Cooper’s signature oil paintings featuring muted shades of brown are, as usual, lovely. His use of light on Ben’s face on the cover is particularly glorious and will draw readers in. An author’s note tells readers that Holmes was a historical figure, but the specific source for this formative moment is not indicated. Nevertheless, a solid Black History choice for younger students. (Picture book. 5-8)