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Dear Mr. Rosenwald Hardcover – September 1, 2006


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Product Details

  • Age Range: 7 - 10 years
  • Grade Level: 2 - 5
  • Lexile Measure: 720L (What's this?)
  • Hardcover: 32 pages
  • Publisher: Scholastic Press (September 1, 2006)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0439495229
  • ISBN-13: 978-0439495226
  • Product Dimensions: 11.2 x 8.8 x 0.4 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 11.2 ounces
  • Average Customer Review: 4.9 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (8 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #560,355 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Editorial Reviews

From School Library Journal

Starred Review. Grade 2-5–Set in the rural South in the early 1920s, this simple, respectful story examines one community's efforts to build a new school for African-American children with seed money provided by the Julius Rosenwald Fund. Each spread features a prose poem told in the voice of a student. Readers learn about the difficult decision to accept the challenge–which the Sears Roebuck executive extended to more than 5000 communities–and then to build a decent schoolhouse for the children of sharecroppers and other poor families. Land, lumber, and labor were all donated or purchased cheap; cast-off books and furnishings from more affluent communities appeared; and within a year, the students who used to study in a drafty shack walked into the first building they could truly call their own. Christie's gouache and colored-pencil illustrations have the variegated look and stylized layout of collage art–a good complement to the child's rough-around-the-edges narration. An afterword explains Rosenwald's impact on thousands of poor black communities. An uplifting and inspiring story about the buildings that are all too frequently taken for granted.–Catherine Threadgill, Charleston County Public Library, SC
Copyright © Reed Business Information, a division of Reed Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved.

From Booklist

In the early 1920s, Julius Rosenwald, the president of Sears, Roebuck, was inspired by Booker T. Washington to give millions to build schools for African American children in the rural South, on condition that the local community raised money too. This picture book tells the story from the viewpoint of Ovella, 10, part of a sharecropper family, who attends a rough one-room schoolhouse when she is not picking cotton ("Instead of learning long division / I'll be working in the fields"). Weatherford's short lines in clear free verse and Christie's exuberant gouache and colored-pencil illustrations show Ovella as part of a vibrant family and community, hard at work, passing the plate in church, and, finally, thrilled to be welcoming the teacher to the exciting new school ("no more eight grades in one room"). The story ends with the child's dream: "One day, I'll be a teacher." Hazel Rochman
Copyright © American Library Association. All rights reserved

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Customer Reviews

4.9 out of 5 stars
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See all 8 customer reviews
The pictures in the book were well done and appropriate.
Marci Twain
It's based on the true story of the Rosenwald schools of the 1920s and 30s and offers a fine tale of a generous man's lasting impact on the Afro- American community.
Midwest Book Review
I highly recommend this book for children and adults alike.
BeYOUtiful

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

4 of 4 people found the following review helpful By Marci Twain on January 14, 2007
Format: Hardcover
What a wonderful children's book. It tells a good story and is educational at the same time. While reading the text it was a joy to look at the illustrations to get some perspective as to what the book was about. The pictures in the book were well done and appropriate. There are 14 scenes (double-page pictures) included.

The book is set in the rural South in 1921 and 1922. The narrator of the book is a young black girl who has never had a good school to go to. The book explains how she got her school within a year's time due primarily to the financial contribution of Julius Rosenwald who had made millions as President of Sears Roebuck and Company.

My favorite part of the book was the Author's Note at the end of the book. That's where the history behind the book is explained. And it is from that blurb that a parent reading the book to their child or children will probably get inspiration when fully explaining the book to their listeners.

I would have liked the book better if its message had been slightly different. I found there to be too much emphasis on the value of the school instead of the value of an education. Wise people are constant learners. Some have gone to school, and others have been self-taught. While it is true that most wise people have at least some school in their past, it's children who want to learn and study for themselves who really benefit from an education. 5 stars!
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful By Jewish Book World Magazine on March 13, 2007
Format: Hardcover
Julius Rosenwald is an authentic Jewish hero yet his name is largely unknown. The longtime head of Sears, Roebuck and Company was one of America's leading philanthropists in the early decades of the twentieth century. A strong supporter of Jewish charities and organizations (a founder and long-time vice-president of the American Jewish Committee), he is especially remembered as a champion for African Americans at a time when Jim Crow laws prevailed. He and the Rosenwald Fund he established are credited with building and staffing over 5,000 schools for African American children in the rural South. In effect, he created a quasi public school system for rural black children who would otherwise not have received a decent education. To insure pride of community ownership, Rosenwald insisted that each community raise matching funds and participate in the building and upkeep of the school.

This book contains evocative free-verse first-person vignettes told by a young girl protagonist who describes her feelings and observations as her community embraces the building of a Rosenwald school. The lively illustrations provide an upbeat visual accompaniment to the text.

This book has no direct Jewish content but is a loving introduction to Rosenwald's vision of Tikkun Olam.

For ages 4-8.

Reviewed by Norman H. Finkelstein
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful By BeYOUtiful on September 7, 2006
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
I highly recommend this book for children and adults alike. (I am even buying one for my sister, a Ph.D. student in History with a focus on the education of blacks in the South.) This book is a great historical glimpse into an era from which we are not too far removed from. Accesible to kids and informative to adults, this is a definite must read.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful By Grape on October 8, 2006
Format: Hardcover
"Dear, Mr. Rosenwald" is a great way for folks to become familiar with the Rosenwald Initiaive. Many of the schools are disappearing due to age and neglect, and this book is a great way to show the importance of restoration and preservation. I think it is fantastic that this "children's" book gives a hint of the partnership between Booker T. Washington and Julius Rosenwald AND community involvement in building approximately 5300 schools in rural, southern, black America in the early 20th century. Well done!
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