Review by Booklist Review
*Starred Review* Lifelong bibliophile Arturo Schomburg would be pleased by Weatherford's prose-poem biography, which praises his passion for researching and collecting books, manuscripts, and other written materials relating to black heritage and history. A Puerto Rico-born New Yorker, Schomburg's quest began when he was a student. Meticulous, he continued his avocation while working as a law clerk in New York City. The centerpiece of the book is a poem called Whitewash, in which Schomburg reflects on a number of famous people with historically unacknowledged African roots: John James Audubon, Alexandre Dumas, Alexander Pushkin, and even Ludwig van Beethoven, whose mother was thought to be a Moor from North Africa (So when genius was black, skin color was left out). Velasquez's portraits of these talents are consistently heroic, while pictures of Schomburg himself, a man of positive stature and bearing, are warm and full of pride. His personal story (three marriages, time at Fisk University, and a place in the Harlem Renaissance) is woven seamlessly with info about those men and women he researched. A time line, source notes, and a bibliography are included, useful for those, like Schomburg himself, who like to seek out more material. As with her previous book Voice of Freedom (2015), Weatherford illuminates a person well worth knowing. A rich book to add to all collections.--Cruze, Karen Copyright 2017 Booklist
From Booklist, Copyright (c) American Library Association. Used with permission.
Review by Publisher's Weekly Review
In graceful free verse, Weatherford delivers a remarkable tribute to Arturo Schomburg, the Afro-Puerto Rican historian, collector, and activist who unearthed the hidden history and achievements of "Africa's sons and daughters." In addition to charting the path Schomburg's life took after emigrating to the U.S. from Puerto Rico, she gives ample attention to the knowledge he uncovered as he amassed books: "Schomburg chased the truth and turned up icons/ whose African heritage had been whitewashed," among them John James Audubon, Alexandre Dumas, and Alexander Pushkin, all of whom are captured with vibrancy and life in Velasquez's oil portraits. Schomburg's ambitions, scholarship, and accomplishments were tremendous-"There was no field of human endeavor/ that he did not till with his determined hand"-and Weatherford and Velasquez more than do justice to them. Ages 9-12. Agent: Rubin Pfeffer, Rubin Pfeffer Content. (Sept.) © Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved.
(c) Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved
Review by School Library Journal Review
Gr 3-7-Arturo Schomburg grew up loving books, and his thirst for knowledge led him to find out all he could about people of African heritage. He began searching for and acquiring books by black authors from a young age. Later he also collected art, letters, and music. Eventually his collection was purchased by the Carnegie Corporation and then donated to the New York Public Library, where it currently resides in the Schomburg Center for Research in Black Culture. Narrator Ron Butler has a nice inflection and energy as he reads the free verse poems, and period music plays throughout. A second disc includes page-turn signals, and listeners will want to read along with the picture book to see the accompanying illustrations. -VERDICT An excellent look at pieces of African American history.-Elizabeth Elsbree, Krug -Elementary School, Aurora, IL © Copyright 2018. Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.
(c) Copyright Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.
Review by Kirkus Book Review
An eccentric, smart, and quirky bibliophile, Arturo Schomburg fueled his life with books. This picture book of free verse poems, lavishly illustrated in oils, opens with stories from Schomburg's childhood in Puerto Rico, where he constantly asked why the history of black people had been left out of all the history books. Answering him, framed, date-stamped panels, appearing primarily on the right sides of the double-page spreads throughout, capture the stories of important historical black figures such as Philip Wheatley, Frederick Douglass, and Paul Cuffee. The poem "Whitewash" will surprise some readers; Schomburg objected to the common practice of omitting from biographies the African heritage of prominent individuals such as naturalist and ornithologist John James Audubon, French writer Alexandre Dumas, Russian poet Alexander Pushkin, and German composer Ludwig van Beethoven. Alongside these, Schomburg's personal and professional life unfolds in unframed images. Schomburg worked as a mail clerk with Banker's Trust; his book collecting and library building resulted from his life's passion, not his vocation. All of the book's details paint Schomburg as an admirable, flawed, likable, passionate man whose lasting legacy, Harlem's Schomburg Center for Research in Black Culture, opens its doors to all who would learn more about the people its founder knew had been left out of the written record. A must-read for a deeper understanding of a well-connected genius who enriched the cultural road map for African-Americans and books about them. (Picture book/biography/poetry. 9-12) Copyright Kirkus Reviews, used with permission.
Copyright (c) Kirkus Reviews, used with permission.