Through the Looking Glass Children's Book Reviews

Howard Thurman's Great Hope

Howard Thurman's Great Hope

Kai Jackson Issa
Illustrator:  Arthur L. Dawson 
Nonfiction Picture Book
For ages 6 to 8
Lee & Low Books, 2010   ISBN: 978-1600608902

Howard Thurman lived in Florida with his mother and sisters. Because his father had died, Howard's mother had to work long hours and Howard did not get to spend much time with her. While she was working away from home, Howard went to school and helped his grandmother carry heavy baskets of laundry to and from the fancy hotels.

Howard loved school and wanted to learn as much as he could. His father had wanted Howard to be a "college man" when he grew up, and Howard was determined to get a good education. This was not easy to do because African Americans in the early 1900s were not allowed to have the same opportunities that white people had. For African Americans getting an education was  was something that you had to fight for.

Thankfully, there were people who wanted to help Howard, and he was able to finish school up to the eighth grade. He had to work hard on his lessons and he also had to work hard in the various jobs that he had. To the amazement of many, Howard passed his eighth grade examinations with flying colors, and he was given a full scholarship to a Negro high school. No one in his family had gone to high school and everyone was thrilled that he had done so well. There was just one problem; the high school was one hundred miles away and Howard was going to have to leave his family.

This is the true story of Reverend Howard Thurman whose inspirational speeches made such a big impact on people in the United States and around the world. A leader in the civil rights movement in the 1960's, he asked people of every race and creed to embrace "peace and unity" instead of intolerance and violence. This book gives readers a moving picture of what Howard Thurman's early years were like, and as the story unfolds  they are able to see where his determination and courage came from.