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The amazing age of John Roy Lynch
2015
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Fiction/Biography Profile
Genre
NonFiction
Juvenile
Topics
Justice
Peace
Slavery
Prejudice
Cruelty
Civil war
Time Period
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Large Cover Image
Trade Reviews

  Publishers Weekly Review

Born a slave, John Roy Lynch would grow up to be one of the first African-American Congressmen, and Barton makes plain both the difficulty of this journey and Lynch's determination to succeed. After emancipation, Lynch took odd jobs and sought an education, his path into politics beginning with delivering speeches and working as a Justice of the Peace. Barton offers an immersive, engaging, and unflinching portrait of the difficulties of the Reconstruction era, while Tate's cartoonlike artwork softens moments of cruelty and prejudice without diminishing them. Ages 7-10. Author's agent: Erin Murphy, Erin Murphy Literary Agency. Illustrator's agent: Caryn Wiseman, Andrea Brown Literary Agency. (Apr.) © Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved.

  School Library Journal Review

Gr 2-5-In this inspiring picture book biography, Barton recounts how John Roy Lynch went from teenage slave to state representative in just 10 years during Reconstruction. The author describes how Lynch was born to an Irish father and an enslaved mother, making him "half Irish and all slave." Lynch learned to read and write and developed into an eloquent speaker, eventually becoming a justice of the peace and being elected to the Mississippi House of Representatives. The vocabulary-rich text may be difficult for younger students, but Tate's illustrations, rendered in mixed media, ink, and gouache on watercolor paper, are extraordinary and carry the lengthy story well. The excellent cartoon-style paintings soften potentially disturbing details, such as the Ku Klux Klan burning a church. The book concludes with a thorough historical note. VERDICT Teachers will find this remarkable story of hope and perseverance a valuable supplement to social studies lessons on the Civil War and Black History Month.-Jennifer Simmons, Anderson County Library, SC © Copyright 2014. Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.

  Booklist Review

*Starred Review* The fascinating story of John Roy Lynch's life from slavery to his election to the U.S. House of Representatives at age 25, gets a stirring treatment here. Barton has a lot of territory to cover, from slavery to the Civil War to Reconstruction and beyond, along with Lynch's personal journey. Because of this, the information at times seems clipped, though it's consistently incisive. The complete time line at the end of the book helps fill in the gaps, and the story generates interest that will encourage additional research. Tate's often expansive illustrations emphasize important incidents in the text. A reference to harsh laws passed by whites is coupled with a dramatic two-page spread of whipping, a potential lynching, and lots of angry white faces in the foreground, fists clenched. A small African American boy covers his eyes at the scene. A scene of the horrors of a school burning shows praying figures overshadowed by masked attackers with burning torches. The emphasis in other illustrations is on faces, full of emotion, which adds to the power of the telling, and the rich, soft tones of Tate's palette welcome the eye to linger. Pair with Mumbet's Declaration of Independence, by Gretchen Woelfle (2014), for another story of a unique and relatively unknown figure in African American history.--Ching, Edie Copyright 2015 Booklist

  Horn Book Review

Reconstruction-era Mississippi is the setting of former slave Lynch's story, during which time he witnessed many ways in which slaves' happy freedom "soon turned sour." Lynch saw racialized violence, used cunning to gain an education, and became an advocate for equal rights as a U.S. Congressman. A dignified biography illustrated with much emotion. Back matter encourages further exploration. Reading list, timeline. (c) Copyright 2016. The Horn Book, Inc., a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.

  Kirkus Review

An honestly told biography of an important politician whose name every American should know. .p Published while the United States has its first African-American president, this story of John Roy Lynch, the first African-American speaker of the Mississippi House of Representatives, lays bare the long and arduous path black Americans have walked to obtain equality. The title's first three words"The Amazing Age"emphasize how many more freedoms African-Americans had during Reconstruction than for decades afterward. Barton and Tate do not shy away from honest depictions of slavery, floggings, the Ku Klux Klan, Jim Crow laws, or the various means of intimidation that whites employed to prevent blacks from voting and living lives equal to those of whites. Like President Barack Obama, Lynch was of biracial descent; born to an enslaved mother and an Irish father, he did not know hard labor until his slave mistress asked him a question that he answered honestly. Freed by the Emancipation Proclamation, Lynch had a long and varied career that points to his resilience and perseverance. Tate's bright watercolor illustrations often belie the harshness of what takes place within them; though this sometimes creates a visual conflict, it may also make the book more palatable for young readers unaware of the violence African-Americans have suffered than fully graphic images would. A historical note, timeline, author's and illustrator's notes, bibliography and map are appended. A picture book worth reading about a historical figure worth remembering. (Picture book biography. 7-10) Copyright Kirkus Reviews, used with permission.
Summary
John Roy Lynch spent most of his childhood as a slave in Mississippi, but all of that changed with the Emancipation Proclamation. Suddenly people like John Roy could have paying jobs and attend school. While many people in the South were unhappy with the social change, John Roy thrived in the new era. He was appointed to serve as justice of the peace and was eventually elected into the United States Congress.This biography, with its informative backmatter and splendid illustrations, gives readers an in-depth look at the Reconstruction period through the life of one of the fi rst African-American congressmen.
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