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Ernest's Gift / by Kathryn Tucker Windham, illustrated by Frank Hardy

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Title: Ernest's Gift
Author: Kathryn Tucker Windham
Illustrator:  Frank Hardy

Publisher: Junebug Books
ISBN: 978-1-58838-149-1
Year: 2004

Concepts: altruism, racial inequality, discrimination

Review: During the 1930s when Ernest Dawson was a young boy, institutionalized racial segregation prevented him from using the public library in Selma, Alabama, the closest town to his rural home. When Ernest first tried to walk into the library and he heard that only whites were welcome, he felt devastated. Although the experience lingered in his memory, he never lost his love of books and of learning as he directed his career toward early childhood education. Ernest also chose an ironic expression of forgiveness at the end of his life.

With its rich story line and expressive illustrations, this book shines the spotlight on a little-known hero who made a big difference for children whose lives were affected by his teaching and generosity. The book provides an important reminder of the daily instances of discrimination that African American children and adults experienced as a result of the South's Jim Crow laws, making the book a useful resource for lessons in black history and economics.

Review by: Rutgers University Project on Economics and Children

 

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