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Fifty Cents and a Dream: Young Booker T. Washington

by
4.25 of 5 stars 4.25  ·  rating details  ·  282 ratings  ·  83 reviews
Booker dreamed
of making friends with words,
setting free the secrets
that lived in books.

Born into slavery, young Booker T. Washington could only dream of learning to read and write. After emancipation, Booker began a five-hundred-mile journey, mostly on foot, to Hampton Institute, taking his first of many steps towards a college degree. When he arrived, he had just fifty c
...more
Hardcover, 48 pages
Published December 4th 2012 by Little, Brown Books for Young Readers
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2013 Mock Caldecott
67th out of 97 books — 232 voters
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African American Picture Book Biographies
29th out of 46 books — 32 voters


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Community Reviews

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Holly
I like my Kindle a lot. However, when a GORGEOUS book like this comes along with raised lettering in the title, deep, rich colors, script running through the stern portrait of Booker T. Washington, I KNOW books can never be replaced. This biography for children can't be missed. Collier's illustrations are captivating (he illustrated two other favorites of mine, Dave the Potter and Rosa), and Asim's inspiring biography teaches children that with determination and drive, anything can be accomplish ...more
Ms. Yingling
This picture book biography covers mainly Washington's youth, from his days as a slave being unable by law to be able to read, through his family's life in West Virginia where he worked in the coal mines, to the fulfillment of his dream of getting a college education at the Hampton Institute. I love how this book points out how much Washington wanted to learn, and the extreme lengths he went to in order to make his education possible-- walking 500 miles to get to the school, working as a janitor ...more
Lu Benke
The photograph of Booker T. Washington shown at the end of the book must have been shared early on with the illustrator for this book and he let it control him. All but one face in the entire book is solemn, unsmiling, and sad--for Booker and others. It's as if there is supposed to be a solemn funereal pall over each phase of his life. There were other elements such as the drawing of several page edges on each side, and the undercurrent of the alphabet and small amounts of money floating below a ...more
Emily
Fifty Cents and a Dream: Young Booker T. Washington

Text-to-Text:
The Civil War and slavery is briefly talked about throughout elementary school. So for text-to-text, I could easy connect this book to another book about the Civil War, for example, Civil War by John E. Stanchak. This way the students would get more background information about the Civil War, as well as get to see one perspective of a young slave boy.

Text-to-Self:
I think this book has excellent messages throughout it. One reoccurrin
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Paul Farbman
Feb 21, 2014 Paul Farbman rated it 5 of 5 stars
Recommends it for: Third Graders
I was extremely impressed with this non-fiction picture book, the 2013 winner of the Carter G. Woodson Book Award.

This book takes the reader on a journey from his time as a slave, to freedom, to learning to read, to getting an education, and eventually to teaching and leading others.

After attending school and working for a few years, Washington found out about a college for negroes, the Hampton Institute in Virginia. With only fifty cents in his pocket, Washington undertook a 500 mile journey t
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Rebecca Sheffler
"Fifty Cents and a Dream: Young Booker T. Washington" is a very inspirational text that will leave a lasting impact on the reader. Booker T. Washington was a leader in the African American community. He was born into slavery and became an advocate for the people and a voice for former slaves. This biography of Booker T. Washington teaches you that you can accomplish anything with the motivation, determination, and drive. In this biography, Booker T. Washington is unable to read and because he w ...more
Jesse German
This book was very inspirational and would be a great resource for teaching your students to never give up when following their dreams. Booker T. Washington wanted to learn how to read and wanted to attend a boarding school called Hampton. He walked almost 550 miles to reach the boarding school and picked up day jobs along the way to pay for him to eat. When he arrived he only had 50 cents and tuition was seventy dollars a year, but he worked as a janitor to pay tuition. This book depicts the li ...more
Lynn
Dreams can be like bubbles of light, drifting, floating, soaring. In this book, Washington's dreams float around the pages as circles of light. These collage and watercolor illustrations are detailed, and reward the careful eye with bits of history, like the map pattern on his shirt. The endpapers are especially appealing, showing actual pages from Webster's "The American Spelling Book"
Even without the text, one can follow his early life as he carries books for the white girl, watches the school
...more
Angela
In one word: Caldecott. And, let's go ahead and give him the award this time, and not just an Honor.

This story of a young Book T. Washington is a must-have for all school and library collections. See for yourself!

Story: 5 stars/5
Illustrations: 7 stars/5

Kelly Merfford
The story of Booker T. Washington is told in a manner which inspires the reader and leaves them turning each page, wanting to know more. It starts out with his life as a young slave who cannot read. He is fascinated by books and the beauty of the written word. It continues his story to the time he becomes free and moves to West Virginia to work in the mines. His mother brought him a spelling book and he began to teach himself how to read. The story continues to tell Booker's story and his dream ...more
Kelly
Fifty Cents and a Dream, written by Jabari Asim and illustrated by Bryan Collier, is nominated for the 14-15 South Carolina Picture Book Award.

Fifty Cents and a Dream is an inspiring story about a young Booker T. Washington. It introduces young readers to this important figure, his early life as a slave, a worker in salt mines, his first days in school, and, eventually, a young man who journeys hundreds of miles just for the chance to go to college. He finally arrives--with only fifty cents in h
...more
Betsy
A solid picture book biography of Booker T. Washington that focus on his childhood and his pursuit of education. Text has a nice rhythm to it--it's not verse, but there is some repetition that will help make this a good read aloud/approachable text for younger to middle elementary. Collier's artwork is, as usual, stunning. I love his use of Washington's handwriting in the background of his face on the cover (I'm assuming it's Washington's writing) as well as his use of photographs in the backgro ...more
Jim Erekson
Asim's approach to history was interesting, finding a slice of a famous character that fascinated him to the point of inquiry, but for which there was no additional evidence in Washington's direct records. This is the kind of point in research where historical fiction is all that is left to do! As such, Asim chose a very safe narrative, but one that is in keeping with the agenda to revive the reputation of Booker T. Washington as a vital figure.

Collier's mixed media collage, along with his pain
...more
Laura
A beautiful book about one of the most important African-American leaders at the turn of the 20th century. Booker T. Washington, born a slave, worked hard to help his family while attending school. Once he was accepted to the Hampton Institute in Hampton Virginia, he walked nearly 500 miles to attend school. He made it to Richmond, Virginia before his money gave out and he was forced to take odd jobs to earn money for the journey's completion.

While the story itself is beautiful and compelling, B
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Christina Swain
While implementing this story into my future classroom, I will challenge each of my students to make connections between history and economic concepts. The famous Booker T. Washington had a dream. His dream was for him to get an education that would allow him to become financially secure. Through this story that Asim tells, my future students will be able to learn the concepts of capital as well as human resources.
Ashley
I thought that the illustration by Bryan Collier were very unique and really draw me in to take a closer look at them. I think it would be a great book to use with your elementary to ease in the concept of slavery, but even more to inspire kids to follow their dream. Booker T. Washington was able to accomplish a lot, but it took a lot of hard work mentally and physically.
Morgan
Beautiful illustrations help readers understand the difficult upbringing Washington endured, and his quest to become literate and educated. Asim includes a biography that doesn't overlook Washington's now-controversial views and status as, Du Bois coined, the "Great Accommodator." A good addition to libraries' inclusive collections.
Brielle
This book was about a young boy who was born into slavery and all he wanted to do was learn. He didn't have enough money to attend school and during his time blacks were not allowed to go to school. He worked really hard and walked 500 miles to get to the Hampton. He worked his way through school and was very excited about learning.
Shelli
This book did what any well written story on an important historical figure does: impassioned me to learn more. After sharing this perfect biographical picture book on Booker T. Washington’s youth and terrifying solitary journey toward enlightenment, I immediately logged onto our public library website and ordered more. What a fascinating individual! Booker T. Washington was born in the final years of slavery and stopped at nothing to better himself and learn the secrets that lived in books. Bot ...more
Maggie
Bryan Collier's watercolor and college artwork is riveting and perfectly paired with Asim's text. The endpapers of the book are overlapping reproductions of The American Spelling Book by Daniel Webster, a fitting wrapper for this story. I know that Booker T. Washington's contributions towards racial equality have been often looked upon with disfavor in modern times. The author notes that he has great regard for Booker T Washington, especially in his "advocacy of hard work, discipline and self-re ...more
Lindsey
Born a slave in Virginia, Booker T. Washington always wanted to learn to read and go to school just like his master's daughter, but it was dangerous for him to know how to read. It was against the law.

Later his family along with himself were granted their freedom, but life continued to be hard and they moved to West Virginia to find work. Even though he had to work every day in a coal mine, he went to school and studied.

His hard work paid off and he was accepted into Hampton Institute. With on
...more
Melissa Mcavoy
Booker T Washington was an extraordinary man. This handsomely illustrated picture book biography goes some of the way towards making his history know to modern children. We see Booker drawn to literacy and determined to change his destiny. His 500 mile journey to the Hampton Institute is the heart of the book. A timeline, author's and illustrator's notes and bibliography help flesh out the motivation to write about Washington, but the books failure to focus on his accomplishments after he reache ...more
Kara
This inspiring biography tells the tale of Booker T. Washington, a young slave who dreamed of learn to read and write. This book could help put the different hardships people faced in different times into perspective.
Nick
This brief story about the childhood and teen years of Booker T. Washington is a tantalizing look into the past. The writing of Jabari Asim was compelling and intriguing. The artwork by Bryan Collier was interesting, but I found it sometimes a tiny bit distracting. For instance, in the illustration showing Washington reaching Richmond, Virginia, I have no idea what the imagery was meant to convey, because I was too busy looking at the effects of the art medium.
Still, the book is a short, excelle
...more
Jodie
Beautiful illustrations accompany the story of Booker T. Washington's early life. The obstacles he faced is quite remarkable, but he was determined to get an education.
Kelsey Borchers
This book was another book that I really enjoyed. I do enjoy history a lot and the historical fiction books are super appealing to me. This book tells the story of the young Booker T. Washington. The illustrations in this book are very different from the typical picture book-they are composed of watercolor and collage. I really enjoyed reading this book that is meant to pull young readers into the past of our country and learning about the important historical figure of Booker T. Washington. A v ...more
Christina
This is a great nonfiction book for elementary students. It depicts the many struggles and determination of Booker T. Washington to receive an education. I believe that he is a great model for students to follow when trying to pursue their dreams. Granted some students may not need to walk 500 miles to reach their goals or experience slavery, but every person has their own obstacles to overcome in order to succeed and become great just as Washington did. I would use this either as a read aloud o ...more
Tim Vandenberg
I reeeaaalllly wanted to like this book more.

Is Booker T. Washington an important role-model in African-American History? Yup.
Is his story of success through self-determination, personal risk, & hard work inspiring for all? Yup.
Is the 3-time Caldecott Honoree Bryan Collier art gorgeous to behold? Yup.
Does this book fire on all cylinders and deliver big? Nope.

I dunno why.....but "Fifty Cents & a Dream" just didn't motivate me to go out there and be amazing like Booker. I will continue to
...more
Murray5thgrade2015
i really liked this book! It was a very deep story and i completely recommend this book for all ages!
Angela Foley
This is a good book for a history lesson as well as a lesson on motivation and persistence.
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