Poet: The Remarkable Story of George Moses Horton

Don Tate. Peachtree, $16.95 (36p) ISBN 978-1-56145-825-7
Born a slave, George Moses Horton taught himself to read, memorizing the poems he composed until he later learned to write. Hand-lettered excerpts of Horton’s writing amplify his successes and setbacks as he gains a reputation as a poet among students at the University of North Carolina, to whom he sold produce. Horton’s poems drew additional attention and were published (“Needless to say, it was a dangerous time for Horton, whose poems often protested slavery,” Tate writes in an afterword), but freedom remained elusive until the signing of the Emancipation Proclamation, when Horton was 66 years old. Tate’s mixed-media illustrations glow with bright greens and yellows, radiating a warmth, hope, and promise that echo this stirring biography’s closing message: “Words loosened the chains of bondage long before his last day as a slave.” Ages 6–10. Agent: Caryn Wiseman, Andrea Brown Literary Agency. (Sept.)
Reviewed on: 07/20/2015
Release date: 09/01/2015
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