"Outside a dog a book is man's best friend, inside a dog it is too dark to read!" -Groucho Marx========="The person, be it gentleman or lady, who has not pleasure in a good novel, must be intolerably stupid." -Jane Austen========="I don’t believe in the kind of magic in my books. But I do believe something very magical can happen when you read a good book."-JK Rowling========"I spend a lot of time reading." -Bill Gates=========“Ahhh. Bed, book, kitten, sandwich. All one needed in life, really.” -Jacqueline Kelly=========

Tuesday, April 24, 2018

Review: Facing Frederick: The Life of Frederick Douglass

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.


  1. Wow, I'd forgotten about T's ignorance of Douglass. Of course, he doesn't read, and definitely needs to.

  2. I think reading young adult non-fiction books is a great way to learn about a subject when you don't want to delve super deep into a dense adult non-fiction. I found that to be true in reading books for the CYBILS; I learned a bunch about topics that I normally wouldn't read.

    1. I am guessing that this will be a Cybils nominated book this year. I am trying to read as many nonfiction YA/Junior books that have starred reviews as I can this year so if I get selected as a judge again I will have a leg up already. And I am reminding myself to write the reviews now rather than try to remember what it was I liked about the book later.


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