: Book Review – Poet: The Remarkable Story of George Moses Horton by Don Tate (Peachtree Publishers, 2015)

cover63555-mediumPub Date Sep 1, 2015
Peachtree Publishers
Poet: The Remarkable Story of George Moses Horton
by Don Tate
Illustrated by Don Tate
Children’s Nonfiction


Blurb: In the nineteenth century, North Carolina slave George Moses Horton taught himself to read and earned money to purchase his time—though not his freedom. Horton became the first African American to be published in the South, protesting slavery in the form of verse.  

Review: George Moses Horton was born in 1798, in  a tabacco plantation in Northampton County, North Carolina. He was a slave. Like his parents, brothers and sisters.  But the little George was a special person: he loved words, and taught  himself to read and, after many years, to write.  And not only. He loved poetry, and composed poems, expecially love poems (first only in his mind), becoming the first African American poet to be published in the Southern United States.


His history, in many ways extraordinary, (it was not easy even for white people to earn a living with poetry) is now contained in a children book, Poet: The Remarkable Story of George Moses Horton,  written and illustrated by Don Tate, an acclaimed author and illustrator of children’s books. (This is his interesting site: http://dontate.com/)

Pastel colors and delicate lines are the distinctive characteristics of his drawings,  united with a simplicity and clarity very agreeable and relaxing.  No gaudy color, mostly shades of luminous  yellow, light green and blue. The text is simple, easily understandable for children of primary school (age 5 -8 ). Maybe a few words are more challenging than that.

Don-Tate-Media-Photos-3Don Tate is an award-winning author, and the illustrator of numerous critically acclaimed books for children. He is also one of the founding hosts of the blog The Brown Bookshelf – a blog designed to push awareness of the myriad of African American voices writing for young readers, with book reviews, author and illustrator interviews. Don frequently speaks at schools, public libraries and writing conferences, and participates in book festivals, including the Texas Book Festival; The Savannah Children’s Book Festival; The Dallas Children’s Book and Literary Festival; The African American Children’s Book Fair, Bookamania, and at such conferences as The International Reading Association; Texas Library Association, The National Alliance of Black School Educators.  The Cart That Carried Martin (Charlesbridge, 2013) is a  Junior Library Guild Selection, 2014 Notable Social Studies Trade Books for Young People recipient, 2013 Blue Ribbon winner presented by The Bulletin of the Center for Children’s Books; Hope’s Gift (Penguin, 2012) was Selected for the 2014 Notable Social Studies Trade Books for Young People; Duke Ellington’s Nutcracker Suite (Charlesbridge, 2011); She Loved Baseball (HarperCollins); and Ron’s Big Mission (Penguin). He is also the author of It Jes’ Happened: When Bill Traylor Started To Draw an Ezra Jack Keats New Writer Honor winner. The book was also selected as a Kirkus Best Children’s Books List Selection, a Booklist Editors’ Choice, 2012, and a New York Public Library Top 100 Titles for Reading and Sharing, as well as one of Bank Street College of Education Best Children’s Books of the Year, 2012.
Don’s upcoming titles include The Amazing Age of John Roy Lynch (Illustrator, Eerdmans, 2015), and Poet: The Remarkable Story of George Moses Horton (Author and illustrator, Peachtree, 2015).  Don is a founding host of the The Brown Bookshelf –a blog dedicated to books for African American young readers; and a member of the #WeNeedDiverseBooks campaign, created to address the lack of diverse, non-majority narratives in children’s literature.
He lives in Austin, Texas, with his wife, Tammy, and his son, Kolby.

With thanks to the publisher and NetGalley for allowing me access to an early digital ARC of this book.


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