Facing Frederick: The Life of Frederick Douglass: A Monumental American Man by Tonya Bolden is one of those essential books that every middle and high school library should have one their shelves. Published in 2018, it is a highly attractive and authoritative account of the life of one of America’s true heroes.
Last year President Trump gave some little speech in which he mentioned Frederick Douglass and it was pretty obvious from the way he spoke that he knew nothing about Douglass, even making it seem that the famous x-slave was still alive. “Frederick Douglass is an example of somebody who's done an amazing job and is getting recognized more and more, I notice,” Trump said without realizing the man has been dead for over 120 years (Wash. Post). It was funny at the time, but really sad in retrospect.
Frederick Douglass lived a phenomenal life well beyond being an escaped slave who wrote about his experiences. He was a “reader, teacher, orator, self-emancipator, abolitionist, author, editor, intellectual, civil rights activist, women’s rights activist, public servant, diplomat, statesman, humanitarian, husband, father, grandfather” and I would add, a voting right’s activist---lobbying not only for voting rights for blacks but also for women. Some say that Frederick Douglass was the Martin Luther King, Jr. of the nineteenth century in America. He never stopped trying to make the country a freer and fairer place for all people. When he died in 1895, “a hush fell upon the land”. These words he wrote about the death of Abraham Lincoln but were true at his passing, too.
I love information books like this one authored by Tonya Bolden. It is full of photos, samples of works by Douglass, and illustrations. It is readable, with a target audience of 5-8th grade, though I think high school students would benefit from reading it, too. (Heck, I am an adult I learned a lot from reading it!) It has source notes, a Frederick Douglass timeline, photo credits, and an index which make it useful for research projects.
Check Facing Frederick: The Life of Frederick Douglass: A Monumental American Man out from your local library. I am sure you will find it interesting, too.