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Richard Wright and the Library Card [Paperback]

By William Miller & R. Gregory Christie (Illustrator)
Our Price $ 8.46  
Retail Value $ 9.95  
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Item Number 298154  
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Item Specifications...

Pages   32
Est. Packaging Dimensions:   Length: 0.25" Width: 8.5" Height: 9.75"
Weight:   0.5 lbs.
Binding  Softcover
Publisher   Lee & Low Books
Age  6-9
ISBN  1880000881  
EAN  9781880000885  

Availability  0 units.

Item Description...
Based on a scene from Wright's autobiography, Black boy, in which the seventeen-year-old African-American borrows a white man's library card and devours every book as a ticket to freedom.

Publishers Description

As a young black man in the segregated South of the 1920s, Wright was hungry to explore new worlds through books, but was forbidden from borrowing them from the library. This touching account tells of his love of reading, and how his unwavering perseverance, along with the help of a co-worker, came together to make Richard's dream a reality

An inspirational story for children of all backgrounds, Richard Wright and the Library Card shares a poignant turning point in the life of a young man who became one of this country's most brilliant writers, the author of Native Son and Black Boy.

This book is the third in a series of biographies by William Miller, including Zora Hurston and the Chinaberry Tree and Frederick Douglass: The Last Day of Slavery. All focus on important moments in the lives of these prominent African Americans.

Buy Richard Wright and the Library Card by William Miller & R. Gregory Christie from our Christian Books store - isbn: 9781880000885 & 1880000881

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More About William Miller & R. Gregory Christie

Register your artisan biography and upload your photo! Miller teaches creative writing and African American literature at York College.

William Miller currently resides in York, in the state of Pennsylvania.

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Reviews - What do our customers think?
Illustrates How Important Libraries Are!   Mar 3, 2008
With all this obession over testing in school and phonics, researchers have repeatedly found that access to books and libraries are really the key to literacy for a people. Apparently segregationists understood this and tried to limit the accessibility of books to African-Americans in the South. William Miller's fictional account of Richard Wright's attempt to access a library and books illustrates how reading can change lives and help people to grow. Richard Wright grew into a writer and was able to use words and writing not because he learned phonics or took tests but because he had books to read.
"BLACK BOY" beats the system !   Apr 10, 2005
Richard Wright grew up in the early 1930s . . . thinking that a library card was the TICKET TO FREEDOM. His mother used 'funny papers' to teach him to read but his formal education went only through 9th grade. A chance for a job took him to Memphis, Tennessee, and there he continued to yearn for books.

How difficult it is now to imagine not being allowed a library card because of race. Thousands of books, but only white folks could check them out! At work Richard finally approached one white man who was willing to loan his library card. Bending the truth a bit to use the card, young Richard found a new life spread out before him.

This 5 STAR story was drawn from an incident that Richard Wright wrote about in his famous 1945 autobiography. The books he read inspired his own talent. He worked with words all his life to express his beliefs in freedom and equality. Everyone MUST see the portrait of Wright on the cover of "HAIKU, This Other World" and be moved by that handsome face which reflects such great strength of character.

Libraries are more than symbols, and books are treasures that never stop 'giving back'. Parents & Teachers: Encourage children to tell about their first library experiences.

REVIEWER mcHAIKU believes fervently that their memories are also treasures.
How young Richard Wright got to read books from the library  Apr 13, 2004
Richard Wright is an African American author best known for his novel "Native Son" and his autobiographical work "Black Boy." In "Richard Wright and the Library Card" author William Miller fictionalizes a story from the latter work that tells of how Wright was inspired to become a writer. Growing up in the Mississippi of the segregated South of the 1920s, Wright was only allowed to go to school through the 9th grade. His mother had taught him to read by using the newspaper and Richard read everything he could find. At the age of 17 Wright traveled north to Memphis, where he got a job sweeping the floors and doing other jobs in the office of an optician. Wanting to check out books at the local library Wright is told he cannot do so because he is black. The only things he can read are old books and newspapers that he finds in the trash. But then, with the help of a white co-worker, Wright is able to come up with a strategy for circumventing the rules.

Miller takes some liberties with Wright's original description of these events in his life, but for the most part these changes simply reinforce the elements of the story; for example, the librarian is suspicious of Richard until he lies and says that he cannot read, at which point the librarian laughs. The detail is not in "Black Boy," but certainly having the librarian laugh reinforces both the irony and the injustice of Wright have to lie in order to gain access to books to read. For that matter the language in the story is made appropriate for young readers, who do not need to hear the epithets in use at the time to understand the prejudice Wright and other African-Americans faced in the segregated South. Miller also does a nice job of setting up the anticipation of young readers who, even if they know nothing of Wright's literary accomplishments, quickly realize that he is going to be able to get to read some books and have to wonder how he is going to do it and beat the oppressive system of segregation.

This volume has the advantage of wonderful impressionistic illustrations by Gregory Christie that pointedly capture the contrast between the face that young Richard shows to the suspicious white librarian, and the real face that comes alive when he is able to read books. This book is appropriate for young readers (Grades 2-5 in terms of interest level and Grades 2-3 for reading level) and emphasizes the wrongness of treating people as different in that Wright's co-worker, Jim Falk, is also considered an outside because he is Catholic, although clearly the Jim Crow laws are the implicit target of condemnation in this book. Wright considers every page of each book to be "a ticket to freedom," and when the young Richard leaves Memphis to go to Chicago and a new life, hopefully young readers will look forward to actually reading some of the important books that he wrote. But at this point the main benefit will be the sense of how things were different back then; I wonder how many young readers could look at the cover and the title of this book and guess correctly the story found inside.

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