Reviewed by Lyn Miller Lachman
Don Tate’s biography Poet: The Remarkable Story of George Moses Horton (Peachtree, 2015) achieves that balance. Drawing on Horton’s own writings, biographies and histories, and archival sources, this picture book for elementary-age readers begins with his listening to sermons and surreptitiously peeking over the shoulders of white children to learn the alphabet.
Tate shows Horton scavenging books, and the sad moment when the master split up his family and sent him alone to another plantation near the University of North Carolina, Chapel Hill. Misfortune turned into opportunity when Horton sold his master’s vegetables on the campus and impressed the students with the original verses he recited, which ultimately led to the publication of his works. But fame did not lead to freedom, and things got worse for the poet in the years leading to the Civil War. Continue Reading.
Poet: The Remarkable Story of George Moses Horton by Don Tate
Illustrator: Don Tate
Published by Peachtree Pub Limited on 2015
Genres: Biography and Autobiography, Slavery
Reading Level: Grades 3-5
Review Source: Pirate Tree
Also by this author: It Jes' Happened, William Still and His Freedom Stories
SYNOPSIS: George loved words. But George was enslaved. Forced to work long hours, George was unable to attend school or learn how to read. But he was determined -- he listened to the white children's lessons and learned the alphabet. Then he taught himself to read. Soon, he began composing poetry in his head and reciting it as he sold fruits and vegetables on a nearby college campus. News of the slave poet traveled quickly among the students, and before long, George had customers for his poems. But George was still enslaved. Would he ever be free?
In this powerful biography of George Moses Horton, the first southern African-American man to be published, Don Tate tells an inspiring and moving story of talent and determination.