The faith of Elijah Cummings The north star of equal justice

Carole Boston Weatherford

Book - 2021

"A picture book biography of Elijah Cummings, outlining major events in his childhood, career and fight for justice"--

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Picture books
New York : Random House Studio [2021]
First edition
Physical Description
1 volume (unpaged) : color illustrations ; 26 x 27 cm
Ages: 6-9
Grades: 2-3
Includes bibliographical references.
Main Author
Carole Boston Weatherford (author)
Other Authors
Laura (Illustrator) Freeman (illustrator)
Review by Booklist Review

Elijah Cummings, civil rights activist and man of faith, chair of the Congressional Black Caucus, chairman of the House Committee on Oversight and Reform, and the first African American legislator to lie in state in the U.S. Capitol, started out as the son of former sharecroppers and was told he would never learn to read or write. This stirring offering from Newbery medalist and Caldecott Honor Book author Weatherford emphasizes how Cummings always followed his dreams. Multiple anecdotes highlight how Cummings continually fought to improve conditions for his constituents and how he was fixated on creating a better future. The nuanced, page-filling illustrations include supporting details and perfectly capture the uplifting tone, deftly integrating quotes from Cummings and other luminaries. Additional matter includes excerpts from eulogies delivered by Nancy Pelosi and from the Congressional Black Caucus, a time line, and a bibliography of mostly adult-level newspaper and media sources. There's a tremendous amount of information packed into this eye-catching, attractive picture-book biography. Young readers will also find inspiration and discover a great role model.

From Booklist, Copyright (c) American Library Association. Used with permission. Review by Publisher's Weekly Review

Interspersing direct quotations throughout, Weatherford offers a thoughtful biography of Black civil rights advocate and congressman Elijah Cummings (1951--2019), who represented Maryland's seventh congressional district from 1996 until his death. This thorough profile traces formative influences in Cummings's life in straightforward prose, from former sharecropper parents who moved the family to Maryland ("They had faith that God was leading them to a place where their children would have a better chance in life") to supportive librarians and employers who assisted Cummings along his journey toward becoming an influential lawyer, politician, and advocate for social justice. Freeman's stylized, photorealistic art, rendered digitally in a bold color palette, emphasizes interpersonal communication in clear vignettes, immersing readers in this edifying survey of Cummings's life and the events that shaped him from childhood. Front matter includes 2019 remarks by Nancy Pelosi; back matter includes a timeline, bibliography, and quote sources. Ages 6--9. (Jan.)

(c) Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved Review by School Library Journal Review

Gr 2--4--Beginning with remarks from Nancy Pelosi, this picture book biography combines Freeman's expressive artwork with Weatherford's illuminating text to focus on the highlights of Cummings's life and career. Each spread includes a quotation from the Congressman that supports the text and gives readers insights into his personal life and those who influenced him. The narrative and illustrations work together to communicate Cummings's commitment to his faith, public service, and civil rights. His parents left South Carolina in the 1940s and settled in Maryland, where they raised seven children in a four-room house. Because it was too crowded to study, Cummings went to the public library after school, where the librarians would stay after work to tutor him. His grades went up, and he went on to become an attorney, congressman, and civil rights leader. This is an impressive, inspiring story of a battle well-fought and a life well-lived. The book concludes with a time line, bibliography, and quote sources. VERDICT Recommended first purchase.--Jennifer Steib Simmons, Anderson County Lib., SC

(c) Copyright Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted. Review by Horn Book Review

Elijah Cummings's parents, who worked as sharecroppers in South Carolina, moved north to Baltimore to raise their children. "Although the Cummingses struggled to feed their family," the seven siblings were taught to value education, hard work, faith, and service. At eleven years old, the future congressman embarked upon his lifelong quest for justice when he helped to desegregate a city swimming pool. Each spread features a quotation from Cummings ("The librarians and books...helped me define myself as a human being"); the key point is expanded in a paragraph or two of text. Accompanied by strikingly vivid illustrations, this biography of the iconic social justice activist and political leader is sure to inspire readers of all ages. Statements by Nancy Pelosi and the Congressional Black Caucus are included. A timeline and bibliography are appended. (c) Copyright 2023. The Horn Book, Inc., a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.

(c) Copyright The Horn Book, Inc., a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted. Review by Kirkus Book Review

Though he was told that he would never be able to read and write well, Elijah Cummings defied his naysayers to become an honored figure in American politics and an especial champion for children and education. In this picture-book biography, readers learn that Elijah Cummings was one of seven children born to his parents, Ruth and Robert Cummings. The Cummings left the racist South and settled in Baltimore, Maryland, where Cummings would spend the rest of his life. The book follows Cummings from his childhood, when he first realized he wanted to study and practice law, through his acceptance and graduation from Howard University and his political career in Maryland and as a congressman, to his death. Readers come away with many facts about and direct quotes from Cummings, but more importantly they will also glean why so many loved him. Weatherford and Freeman paint a tender picture of the leader that shows his sensitivity and concern for others, rooted in his religion, that spanned his entire life. The book opens with a speech written by Nancy Pelosi, and the backmatter includes an excerpt of a statement from the Congressional Black Caucus. There's also a timeline of Cummings' life, a bibliography, and the sources of the direct quotes made by Cummings on each spread. (This book was reviewed digitally.) Pays due honor to Elijah Cummings' memory and his dedication to the people he served. (Picture book/biography. 5-9) Copyright (c) Kirkus Reviews, used with permission.

Copyright (c) Kirkus Reviews, used with permission.