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Schomburg: The Man Who Built a Library Hardcover – September 12, 2017

4.8 out of 5 stars 45 ratings

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Editorial Reviews

From School Library Journal

Gr 3–6—Born in 1874, Afro-Puerto Rican Arturo Schomburg's sense of wonder was stoked early on by listening to el lector, who read aloud from newspapers and novels to the cigar workers Schomburg kept company. When a teacher asserted that "Africa's sons and daughters" had no history or heroes worth noting, it sparked Schomburg's lifelong quest to uncover his people's stories, "correcting history for generations to come." He immigrated to New York in 1891, and though stymied in his hopes to pursue higher education, began amassing a collection of Africana books and art. Through text and art, Weatherford and Velasquez craft a winning portrait of both collector and his collection. Oversize oil-on-watercolor paintings accompany each page of text: one arresting image finds young Schomburg immersed in a book, with a portrait of Benjamin Bannecker hanging above his shoulder. Velasquez captures Schomburg's proud bearing and intent focus. His research led to writers and poets, including Frederick Douglass and poet Phillis Wheatley; revolutionaries like Toussaint Louverture; and luminaries whose "African heritage had been whitewashed," including John James Audubon and Ludwig van Beethoven. By day, Schomburg worked as a mailroom clerk, but his collecting and scholarship introduced him to members of the Harlem Renaissance, such as Langston Hughes and Countee Cullen. Schomburg's collection was donated to the New York Public Library and now boasts over 10 million items. VERDICT This excellent work of history illuminates Schomburg and his legendary collection for a new generation—it belongs in all public and school libraries.—Marilyn Taniguchi, Beverly Hills Public Library, CA

Review

The remarkable life and achievements of the Afro-Puerto Rican scholar, collector and curator Arturo Schomburg have ideal chroniclers in Weatherford (‘Freedom in Congo Square’) and Velasquez (‘Grandma’s Gift’).
—New York Times Book Review

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.
—Kirkus Reviews (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 black heritage and history...As with her previous book Voice of Freedom (2015), Weatherford illuminates a person well worth knowing. A rich book to add to all collections.
—Booklist (starred review)

Through text and art, Weatherford and Velasquez craft a winning portrait of both collector and his collection...Schomburg’s collection was donated to the New York Public Library and now boasts over 10 million items. This excellent work of history illuminates Schomburg and his legendary collection for a new generation—it belongs in all public and school libraries.
—School Library Journal (starred review)

In graceful free verse, Weatherford delivers a remarkable tribute to Arturo Schomburg...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.
—Publishers Weekly (starred review)

With great respect to the man's riveting life story, Caldecott and Coretta Scott King Honors author Carole Boston Weatherford relates through narrative poetry the story of Afro-Puerto Rican immigrant Arturo Schomburg. While each poem in Schomburg: The Man Who Built a Library can stand alone as a single snapshot in the literary life of Schomburg, Weatherford's portrayal of the bibliophilic law clerk is so wondrous, readers won't be able to resist turning the pages to learn more.
—Shelf Awareness for Readers (starred review)

Velasquez’s richly detailed oil paintings aptly capture Schomburg’s zeal for learning and for teaching others...A must-read about a bibliophile extraordinaire.
—Horn Book

The richness and succinctness of Weatherford’s prose and Valesquez’s vibrant art indicate to readers how much more there is to black history if they only started digging for themselves.
—HuffPost

Carole Boston Weatherford’s descriptions and Eric Velasquez’s illustrations make clear how tirelessly Schomburg searched for books, pamphlets and art that could ‘tell our stories, proclaim our glories’…Although he died about 80 years ago, his library in New York City is a national historic landmark, as big and bustling as ever.
—Washington Post

In a series of twenty poems, Weatherford offers readers a biography of the life and work of Arturo Schomburg (1874-1938)...Velasquez’s expressive oil paintings capture the time period beautifully.
—Literacy Daily

A picture book of incredible poems…Hallelujah!
—Toledo Blade

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