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Dear Mr. Rosenwald
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Dear Mr. Rosenwald

3.92  ·  Rating Details ·  89 Ratings  ·  35 Reviews
Renowned illustrator Gregory Christie joins the Scholastic Press list with this empowering story about an African-American community who builds their own school.

Based on the true story of the Rosenwald schools built in the rural African-American South in the 1920s, writer and poet Carol Boston Weatherford tells the lyrical story of third grader Ovella as her family and com
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Hardcover, 32 pages
Published September 1st 2006 by Scholastic Press
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booklady
Sep 23, 2008 booklady rated it really liked it
Recommends it for: parents and children
Recommended to booklady by: Krista the Krazy Kataloguer Hartman
Dear Mr. Rosenwald is a fictional story about an African American community in the rural south in the early 1920s which has decided to apply to the Rosenwald Fund for a new school. In order to be eligible for funding the local populace has to secure land for the school, raise additional funds, provide labor, supplies, fuel and sometimes school buses. In this story, the little girl, Ovella, watches as her town works hard to do all the things necessary to apply to the Rosenwald Fund. It is an insp ...more
Krista the Krazy Kataloguer
I'm giving this 4 stars for the text but 2 stars for the illustrations, which I didn't like. This book is a series of poems describing how one black Southern community in 1921 built themselves a new school with the help of hard work, their white neighbors, and a contribution from Julius Rosenwald, President of Sears, Roebuck and Co. I didn't know that Rosenwald donated money for hundreds of schools down south. I love children's books that bring out little-known historical facts. Recommended for ...more
Mackenzie Midles
Apr 16, 2012 Mackenzie Midles rated it liked it
The innocence of this book is portrayed vividly for readers, which is what I loved most about it. Taking place in the 1920’s when African Americans were looked down upon by whites, Dear Mr. Rosenwald is told through the eyes of a child. Ovella, as for many other African American children in her community, went to school in a rundown church until the community took action to build a new school with the help of a generous donor, Mr. Rosenwald.
This book goes into great detail about what it was lik
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Rochelle Brandon
Apr 16, 2013 Rochelle Brandon rated it it was amazing
Captivating book written in the first person of a child whose community raises funds to match a Rosenwald Grant to build a schools for African American communities. The main character's narative rings of authenticity. I know. My grandmother was educated in a Rosenwald School. The school still served as the church's community center when I was small. She was proud and greatful for her education. She made sure education was apriority for her children. Because of that grant, because of that school, ...more
Janelle
Jun 07, 2008 Janelle rated it it was amazing
Shelves: children-s-books
I picked up this book because the cover caught my eye. I hadn't been familiar with the Rosenwald schools, and I'm so glad to have learned about them.

This book is based on the true story of Julius Rosenwald, Sears and Roebuck CEO, who started a program to help build schools for African American children. The story is appealing and educational but told in the form of a children's story, I love the vivid pictures, created using gouache and colored pencil.
Sandy
Oct 20, 2009 Sandy rated it liked it
This book is a true story about a town in the south during the early 1920's who was fortunate to have been given some money from Julius Rosenwald, president of Sears, Roebuck, & Co., to build a school for it's black children. The townspeople held fundraisers, took up a special collection in church, and did almost all of the construction of the school themselves. It is a short, picture book broken into chapters, which is quite unusual in my experience as an elementary school librarian.
Cece
Sep 04, 2010 Cece rated it it was amazing
Shelves: social-studies
This book was inspiring. The setting is 1921-1922 and it is inspired by a true story. The present of Sears, Roebuck, and Co donates money to build new school, but the people have to raise money to help build the school. The story talks about a one room school and sharecropping.
Jessica LeBaron

Dear Mr. Rosenwald
Carole Boston Weatherford

This picture book is written in the viewpoint of a young black girl who goes to school in a classroom that has multiple grades within one room, because there are only two rooms. The rooms are in a church, and they are separated by a big white sheet. The girl and her family are sharecroppers, and work very hard in the cotton fields in order to live. One day, there was a rally for a new and improved school. The community saved as much money as they could,
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Anna
Apr 25, 2012 Anna rated it liked it
This book tells a story that most people do not think about when they think of African American History in the nineteen twenties, education. Once the slaves became free, they were still not given the same opportunities that white people were given. Many of then still worked in partnership with White farmers who kept them in debt in order to keep them working for them. This caused even more poverty then before and left people desperate. One of the events that brought a hope of a new life was educ ...more
Emily
Nov 23, 2013 Emily rated it really liked it
Shelves: multicultural
This story is about an African American community in the 1920’s that is building a new children’s school. Their current school is a one-room building with one sheet down the middle to make two classrooms, and has many different problems such as leaks. The community is to receive a donation from Julius Rosenwald, the president of Sears, Robuck and Co., to build a new school on their own, but must first raise money themselves. Ovella is one of the children who attends the school and is a member in ...more
Michelle
Jul 09, 2008 Michelle rated it it was amazing
A must have for elementary libraries and classrooms. Prose poems describe one Southern, African American community's anticipation, efforts and excitement as they work to build a school in their community in the 1920's.

Inspired by Booker T. Washington's book Up From Slavery, Sears, Roebuck and Co. president, Julius Rosenwald donated millions of dollars to build schools for African American children in the south. He gave money on the condition that the community also raises money and works togeth
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Bailey Huylar
Nov 24, 2013 Bailey Huylar rated it it was amazing
Shelves: multicultural
Ovella learns in a one-room school that is nothing special, but she enjoys learning. Her town in poor, so she is lucky she has the opportunity to attend school at all. When she learns at the new school rally that Julius Rosenwald, the president of Sears, Roebuck, and Co., is going to donate money for the building of a new school she is thrilled but worried. The people in the community are required to pitch in, and she doesn’t know how that’s possible when everyone has so little money to spare. H ...more
Caroline Siewert
Dear Mr. Rosenwald is a book based in the 1920s. In this book an African American community comes together to build a new school house for the children. Mr. Rosenwald is the owner of Sears and he has committed to helping the community build a school if they can come up with some of the funds themselves. Each family contributes to the fundraising efforts in their own way. Finally, the town reaches their goal and a brand new school is built for the children. The best part of this book is that it s ...more
Summer Cull
Apr 02, 2013 Summer Cull rated it really liked it
In the small town of Ovella, word gets around that a rich businessman named Mr. Rosenwald is going to donate money to the town to build a new school. However, the townspeople have to raise money themselves as well in order to pitch in. One little girl is concerned that a town where everyone is already so poor, they won’t be able raise enough money. But she quickly learns what can be accomplished when a community comes together for a valuable cause.
The most inspirational part of this story is t
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Laura Noto
Nov 01, 2009 Laura Noto rated it liked it
Dear Mr. Rosenwald is a picture book for children in 2nd to 5th grade. It is inspired by a true story. In the early 1920s Julius Rosenwald, the president of Sears, Roebuck donated money for African-Americans to build schools. The communities had to raise money through fundraisers and growing extra crops before Julius Rosenwald would give them any money. This book features many poems written by a student during this process. The community raises money and then goes into the difficult process of b ...more
Angela Herd
Oct 14, 2013 Angela Herd rated it it was amazing
Title: Dear Mr. Rosenwald

Summary: In this story, a young girl pulls the reader into her world and shows the emotions behind a community in the post slavery era. Her family are sharecroppers with mounting debt. The community church tries to invest in the children, their very future. By reaching out to all in the community, even white people, the church is able to begin building a school.

Focus: Narrative Features I Would Use in a Mini Lesson

1. Memoir: The book tells the story of a young girl who
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Donna
Dear Mr. Rosenwald is based a true story set in the 1920's. It tells the story of Rosenwald and his efforts to build a school for African Americans. The story is told through the voice of Ovella who marvels at how the community comes together to raise money to build the school. Rosenwald was one president of Sears Roebuck and company and he donated millions of dollars to build schools in the south. What makes this story remarkable is that Rosenwald is Jewish but uses his wealth for the bettermen ...more
Megan Boomgarden
This book would be fabulous to have in a middle level elementary classroom. The writing is too long and complex for younger children to read on tehir own, but this book would still be wonderful to read aloud to a younger class. It is written in more of a poetry style, having a different heading and "story" on each page. It is written from a young girls point of view about watching and experiencing what it was like to attend an all black school in the 1920's. This book is filled with American His ...more
Claudia Naranjo
Enjoy this book very much, and I think students will be amazed how old school worked. I did not like the pictures, I think there are very flat.

Based on the true story of the Rosenwald schools built in the rural African-American South in the 1920s, writer and poet Carol Boston Weatherford tells the lyrical story of third grader Ovella as her family and community help each other build a new, and much-prayed for, school.

Inspired by Booker T. Washington, Julius Rosenwald, the son of an immigrant an
...more
Jessica Winden
Nov 19, 2013 Jessica Winden rated it liked it
Shelves: children-s-books
Ovella learns in a one-room school that is nothing special, but she enjoys learning. Her town in poor, so she is lucky she has the opportunity to attend school at all. When she learns at the new school rally that Julius Rosenwald, the president of Sears, Roebuck, and Co., is going to donate money for the building of a new school she is thrilled but worried. The people in the community are required to pitch in, and she doesn’t know how that’s possible when everyone has so little money to spare. H ...more
Katy Snyder
While I liked that this book was written in the form of letters written by a child, it was also slightly distracting. My biggest problem with this book was that the story did not seem to advance at an appropriate tempo. The book was set up to be about the community's efforts to raise enough money for a new school and how hard it was going to be, but it felt like that whole process was glazed over instead of emphasizing it in a way that seemed appropriate based on how the story set itself up. How ...more
Cara Byrne
Oct 19, 2015 Cara Byrne rated it liked it
"some men were chopping wood / for the classroom's potbellied stoves / and other men were painting - / cream ceilings and gray walls - / when a truck pulled up with old desks / and used books from the white school. / Miss Mays thanked the driver again / and again. Then, she gave us erasers / to clean stray marks from the books: / scribbles, doodles, answers, names. / I wondered if the white boys and girls / learned the same as us." ("Hand-Me-Downs"). A moving series of poems written during the J ...more
Maggie
Aug 04, 2015 Maggie rated it liked it
Shelves: 577-the-list
Golden Kite Honor for PB Text (2007)

Important story about an African American community (mostly sharecroppers) coming together and raising funds and materials in order to build a new school with support from a wealthy donor. I appreciate the community aspect and all, but I do a little resent the emphasis on the donation--perhaps it could not have happened without him, but the end of the book makes it feel like the most important part was his donation, rather than the community collaboration. All
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Stephanie Davis
Sep 11, 2013 Stephanie Davis rated it it was amazing
This book was fabulous. It was a real representation of the African American community in the 1920s. This book was about a community who wanted to build a new school. Mr. Rosenwald, the president of Sears, would donate half of the money to any community that could raise the other half. With the help of Mr. Rosenwald, this specific community was able to build a new school and countless other schools were also able to build schools for African American children in the south. This book shows compas ...more
Matthew
Apr 22, 2015 Matthew rated it it was amazing
The story of school being built in the American south thanks to the fund set up by Julius Rosenwald, the president of Sears, Roebuck and Co. Apparently, Rosenwald made a major move for the modernization of schooling for African Americans in the south. Really a noble effort to make and this book does a great job of narrating what the process would have been like for a community that was getting one of those schools. Really a worthwhile read.
Kahlil Simpson
The picture book discusses Schools built in the south By Julius Rosenwald in the early 1900's. In the book a third grader recounts how her community came together to help build a school for their community.

The book does a good job of showing the importance of education to a southern communities, and representing the ideas of gradualism that were present in the time period. My main critique is that the story fell rather flat, as its main narrative was hammered home.
Mary Crytzer
Sep 15, 2013 Mary Crytzer rated it it was amazing
Shelves: ch-02-ncss
This child's book is an eye opener as to the difficulties African Americans has to face being treated as second class citizens. The book is a story told in short stories about the building of a new school. The line that really stood out was "I wonder if white children learn the same way we do"? The art work was simple but effective.
(NS)Jordyn
Sep 30, 2009 (NS)Jordyn rated it really liked it
An amazingly educational picture book that digs into a piece of history that I never really knew existed. Written in a poetic format, with illustrations from the same artist who did the pictures for Stars in the Darkness. This would be especially well worth using with upper graders (5-8th) who may have more historical background knowledge.
Kristine
Feb 10, 2015 Kristine rated it it was amazing
Told in verse, this book chronicles the journey of one small town in the south building a school for their African American community. Through the story we learn of the real life Mr. Rosenwald who was the president of Sears, Robuck, and Co. He donated money to help towns build schools through a community effort.

"Hurry and build that school
so I can learn to read my Bible."

Erin
Dec 26, 2013 Erin rated it liked it
Given to me by my amazing mother. Christmas 2013. This is the story of the Rosenwald schools. Mr. Rosenwald was the founder of Sears and donated huge amounts of money to build schools in black communities in the poor South.
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Carole Boston Weatherford is a children's book author and poet who "mines the past for family stories, fading traditions, and forgotten struggles." A number of Weatherford's books tell the stories of African-American historical figures such as Harriet Tubman, Jesse Owens, and Billie Holiday. Other books recount historical events such as the Greensboro Sit-ins and the bombing of the Sixteenth Stree ...more
More about Carole Boston Weatherford...

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