Poet: The Remarkable Story of George Moses Horton by Don Tate

The topic of slavery is a difficult subject to introduce to children, especially those whose ancestors were enslaved. Yet, sometimes there are bright spots to be explored in spite of the historical adversity. The picture book Poet: The Remarkable Story of George Moses Horton by Don Tate explores the experiences of a self taught slave who, despite the restrictions placed upon him by society in the 1800s in North Carolina, was able to sell his poems to the students at the White Chapel Campus, improving his living conditions despite his status as a slave. With the help of sympathetic patrons, he was even able to publish his works. In spite of his earnings, his master refused to give Horton his freedom, and it wasn’t until after the Civil War that Horton was able to leave slavery behind and pursue his dreams as a poet at the age of sixty six. Regardless of his prior hardships, Horton was able to share his gift of words – a talent even more incredible from a slave during a time when reading and writing was forbidden. While the colorful illustrations reflecting Horton’s life are a bit cartoonish with oversized heads, examples of his words decorate the pages and give the reader a taste of his talents. This is definitely a read aloud book with a smaller print font than often found in picture books. Even though this topic might need some adult explanations, Horton’s success is certain to be inspiring to all children. Here is an individual whose name should be common knowledge as a great American poet. This book is a good step in the right direction to get the word out to the upcoming generations. Four stars and a thank you to Netgalley for this ARC in exchange for an honest review.

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