Dear Mr. Rosenwald
Carole Boston Weatherford
Illustrated by R. Gregory Christie
Fiction and Non-Fiction Picture Book
Ages 7 to 10
Scholastic, 2006, 0-439-49522-9
Orvella and her little brother Junior go to the local school when they are not needed to work in the fields. Their father is a sharecropper and life is hard. The school that they go to is very primitive but Orvella still manages to feel grateful that there is a school to go to. She knows that there are plenty of black children living in the south who don’t get to have any kind of education.
One day there is a meeting at the church. A teacher stands up and tells the congregation about how they might be able to get financial aid so that they can build a new and better school for the children. Mr. Rosenwald, the president of Sears Roebuck, is donating funds to communities so that they can build new schools but the people in the community have to show their commitment to the cause by raising a good portion of the needed money, by securing suitable land, by getting needed building materials, and by building the schools themselves.
This is not going to be easy in a community where people have so little money to spare but Orvella’s family and their neighbors are determined to get the money somehow. Bit by bit they raise money “a nickel and a dime at a time.” Once the money is raised, everyone works hard to build the school on the land the church donated.
This is an inspiring story which shows us all that determination and hard work can make all the difference in the world. Even though they had so little, Orvella’s people found a way to raise money and then they used their skills to build a beautiful large school house. Sometimes all it takes is for someone to give people a helping hand, to give them the encouragement that they need to make a difference in their lives.
This tale is based on the true stories of communities which accepted Mr. Rosenwald’s challenge to improve their lives. By 1932 more than five thousand Rosenwald schools were in use in fifteen states.
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