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by Sandra Belton & illustrated by Benny Andrews

Age Range: 5 - 9

Pub Date: April 1st, 2003
ISBN: 0-688-17480-9
Publisher: Greenwillow

An African-American boy’s success is demonstrated in this brief narrative that credits the supportive mentoring he received from a strong and disciplined educator. The young boy first meets Miss Josie when his father brings him to her home for an overnight stay. Her tall, imposing appearance is intimidating and makes the boy feel unsure of the purpose of his visit even as she introduces him to her capital city’s famous monuments and symbols and encourages his interest in art by allowing him to draw while in her home. Several years later, when he’s traveling to a summer camp and needs to change trains in Washington D.C., his father arranges a meeting with her in the station, but the boy’s continued uneasiness prevails and he carefully avoids her before boarding the next train. College brings the now him to Washington once more. He agrees to one Sunday visit with Miss Josie, as he realizes her towering presence is no longer scary, but protective and inspiring, and a new learning relationship and lasting friendship develop. The years pass, bringing graduation, marriage, and a son. Miss Josie, while physically older and increasingly slower and deafer, maintains a strong influence in the new father’s life and the cycle continues when he introduces his own boy to the woman who urged him to follow his artistic dream. Belton bases this gracious, gentle-hearted story on a real person. Andrews employs an elongated style in full-color collage and oil paints that highlights Miss Josie’s statuesque and eloquent figure against a bright and vibrant background. A fine tribute. (Picture book. 5-9)