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The Amazing Age of John Roy Lynch

4.18  ·  Rating details ·  756 ratings  ·  156 reviews
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 ele ...more
Hardcover, 50 pages
Published April 1st 2015 by Eerdmans Books for Young Readers
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“It’s the story of a guy who in ten years went from teenage field slave to U.S. Congressman.” Come again? That’s the pitch author Chris Barton pulled out when he wanted to describe this story to others. You know, children’s book biographies can be very easy as long as you cover the same fifteen to twenty people over and over again. And you could forgive a child for never imagining that there were remarkable people out there beyond Einstein, Tubman, Jefferson, and Sacajawea. People with stories t ...more
Krista the Krazy Kataloguer
What an amazing man John Roy Lynch was! A half Irish slave who was freed by the Emancipation Proclamation, John Roy held a number of jobs, bought property, held the office of Justice of the Peace, and served in the Mississippi House of Representatives, all before he was 30 years old. Though he had no formal education, he taught himself to read and write, and then educated himself in law and politics. He must have been highly intelligent. I liked the way Barton related the history of Reconstructi ...more
A picture book bio of sorts about John Roy Lynch who was born into slavery, but within ten years went from field slave to U.S. Congressman. The tail end of slavery thru Reconstruction is covered. The time period is of major focus whereas John Roy Lynch serves as a tour guide/access point for presenting information about the trials of Reconstruction.

While I think the topic is important for sharing with youth, overall I wasn't impressed with the writing. The narrative often took on a strange slant
Excellent, excellent youth nonfiction. A young person may not fully appreciate how special Lynch's story is, but as an adult I was fascinated. I had no idea that this period of African American advancement had taken place during Reconstruction. The historical note in the back is fascinating, and more than a little sad. From 1870-1877 there were SIXTEEN African American serving in the US Congress! Between 1902 and 1972? Zero. Talk about two steps forward and ten steps back.

Lynch's story is one wo
Nov 17, 2015 rated it really liked it
Shelves: reviewed, juv-bio
In 1875, US Representative John Roy Lynch (R-MS) proclaimed in support of the civil rights bill:
When every man, woman, and child can feel and know that his, her, and their rights are fully protected by the strong arm of a generous and grateful Republic, then we can truthfully say that this beautiful land of ours, over which the Star Spangled Banner so triumphantly waves, is in truth and in fact, the “land of the free and the home of the brave.”

I found it remarkable that Rep Lynch included wome
Apr 18, 2015 rated it it was amazing
Every single time I read a biography, especially a picture book biography; I am truly astounded at the capacity of the human spirit. My purpose in placing emphasis on picture book biographies is those authors and illustrators search for the essence of each person, specific points of interest, given their limited page space. No matter the circumstances of these individuals, they all have a can-do attitude. Their lives serve to inspire others.

In reading The Amazing Age of John Roy Lynch (Eerdmans
John Roy Lynch was born to a white father and enslaved mother, therefore he was born a slave. A beautiful picture book that tells Lynch's story from slave to politician during the Reconstruction. This inspiring biography gives a no nonsense description to the racism of the times. There are two disturbing double page illustrations that may give readers pause: one of a man tied to a tree about to be whipped, and later one of Ku Klux Klan's members burning a church. This little known story with the ...more
The protagonist of this picture book biography, John Roy Lynch, who went from a slave to a U.S. Congressman in 10 years time, is one worth knowing, and I'm glad there's now a picture book to introduce him to kids. But what I am truly wowed by is how successfully Chris Barton conveyed the bigger picture of Reconstruction (a time period which most of us don't know nearly enough about). He does so in a way that is simple enough for kids to understand but which doesn't gloss over the unpleasant real ...more
The Reading Countess
Feb 28, 2016 rated it really liked it
Shelves: biography, bluebonnet
Interesting tale about a determined young man who rose quickly in the ranks of Reconstruction politics as a half-Irish, recent slave. Though the author certainly makes valid points throughout, I wish he would have left out his obvious feelings-kids are smart. They can come to his conclusions without the nudging. The illustrations are rich and well-researched.
Edward Sullivan
A wonderfully written and illustrated portrait of a fascinating individual in the context of an unflinchingly honest depiction of the promise and failure of the Reconstruction era. Engaging, insightful and rich.
May 16, 2015 rated it it was amazing
This story of John Roy Lynch, the first African-American speaker of the Mississippi House of Representatives, is a terrific book for several reasons. The most important is, the author actually gets the story of the Reconstruction Era correct. While many Americans know a lot about the Civil War, the great majority don’t know much about Reconstruction, and what they have learned is riddled with myth and inaccuracies. As historian Eric Foner points out, we are still dealing with many of the same is ...more
Kirsten Whisler
This story was extremely interesting and it taught me a lot about history that I didn't know. John Roy Lynch had to go through a lot of struggles and he overcame a lot but he didn't quite get to see his dreams come true. I would suggest this book for older students rather than early childhood education. ...more
Jan 26, 2015 rated it it was amazing
John Roy Lynch grew up as a slave in Mississippi, the son of an overseer who tried to free his children from slavery. Unfortunately, his untimely death led to them continuing to be enslaved until the Emancipation Proclamation. Lynch found a job, his first paying job, on a steamer ship and worked his way up. At age 17, John Roy went to work for a photographer whose studio was right across from a school. Listening in on the classes and attending night school, John Roy was able to learn to write el ...more
John Roy Lynch had an Irish father and an enslaved mother. By the law of the South before the Civil War, that made John Roy and his brother half Irish and all slave.
These first two sentences of The Amazing Age of John Roy Lynch definitely made an impression on me, and the rest of the book was just as powerful. The book tells the life of John Roy Lynch, a man born in the South who, in just 10 years, went from being a slave to a U.S. Congressman. Lynch's life is definitely uplifting and inspi
Samuel Graham
Feb 20, 2016 rated it really liked it
Barton does some fierce truth telling and does not skip over harsh realities of the Reconstruction era. Students will learn here that there was more to the end of slavery than Abraham Lincoln passing the Emancipation Proclamation. The text and illustrations depict whipping, hanging, and a black church burning down at the hands of the Ku Klux Klan. However, there is also a lot of hope in the story of John Roy Lynch's rise from slave to U.S. congressman in a 10-year span, which I think is what mak ...more
Sep 12, 2016 rated it it was amazing
Another Bluebonnet Nominee. My 9 & 7 year olds were fascinated and so was I. It does a great job of discussing the topics of slavery, civil war (only one page of it), reconstruction and race relations in the American South in kid friendly terms without dumbing it down. My kids had several questions during the reading. And I think we need a few more times through to do it service.
I normally don't review picture books but this one is good enough I want to get the word out. The author and illustrat
I will be the first to admit I knew nothing about John Ray Lynch before this book. Overall it was factual but I didn't like the illustrations (after all this is meant for children so shouldn't they be outstanding the draw children into the story). But then I read at the end where the illustrator drew this way on purpose to balance out the heavy material. That's cool.

Recommend this for youth who can handle the topics of slavery and death. Otherwise it is well handled and encourages dictionary us
Abby Johnson
Mar 31, 2015 rated it really liked it
Shelves: diverse, nonfiction
Books about reconstruction for kids are few and far behind and this one hits the mark. John Roy Lynch was born into slavery and lived as a slave until he was set free by Emancipation when he was 16 years old. Within ten years, Lynch was a US Congressman! It was an amazing age indeed when any person would have that opportunity. This is not only an inspiring biography, but a peek into the period of Reconstruction when the South was putting itself back together again after the Civil War.
Ben Truong
Nov 23, 2020 rated it it was amazing
The Amazing Age of John Roy Lynch is a children's picture book written by Chris Barton and illustrated by Don Tate. It is an honestly told biography of an important politician whose name every American should know.

John Roy Lynch was a black Republican politician, writer, attorney and military officer. Born into slavery in Louisiana, he became free in 1863 under the Emancipation Proclamation. After serving for several years in the state legislature, in 1873 Lynch was elected as the first African-
Richie Partington
Richie’s Picks: THE AMAZING AGE OF JOHN ROY LYNCH by Chris Barton and Don Tate, ill., Eerdmans, April 2015, 48p., ISBN: 978-0-8028-5379-0

“It is claimed that in States, districts, and counties, in which the colored people are in the majority, the suppression of the colored vote is necessary to prevent ‘Negro Domination’--to prevent the ascendancy of the blacks over the whites in the administration of the State and local governments.”
--John Roy Lynch, from his book, The Facts of Reconstruction, av
Nancy Prater
Feb 05, 2018 rated it it was amazing
This man was amazing! Inspires me to want to learn more about the reconstruction era we unfortunately skip lightly over in history classes. Excited to check out the additional books it suggests in the back.
Feb 01, 2018 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: library-book
A children’s picture book with a historical flare. The story of John Roy Lynch was new to me. The fact that he went from slave to US congressman is amazing. The illustrations are incredible and certainly add to the story. The historical note and the timeline add hours to the conversation I will have with my kids.
Oct 13, 2019 rated it really liked it
Good story and pictures
Jan 20, 2018 rated it really liked it
Good story, but a little elementary for an elementary school book. Pictures were not award-winning for me. But a story that should be told.
This book deals with the time after slavery, reconstruction. John Roy Lynch went from being a teenaged field slave to being a congressman within 10 years. An amazing story!
Jan 20, 2018 rated it it was amazing
GREAT story about a slave who later became a politician.
Teresa Scherping Moulton
John Roy Lynch was born into slavery in 1847, but by the time he was a teenager, the Emancipation Proclamation made him a free man. John Roy found himself a job, first on a transport steamer and later in a photography portrait shop. Looking in the window of a schoolhouse next door, John Roy learned to read and write. With freedom and an education, there were all kinds of opportunities available to John Roy during the era known as Reconstruction. In his twenties, John Roy entered politics, and wh ...more
Dec 17, 2015 rated it really liked it
Shelves: 3-6-biography
This is a dynamic example of a true non-fiction narrative achievement story, seeming to good to be true, yet it is! John Roy Lynch grew up during the reconstruction era, a subject in which I have very few books about, in the library. Growing up as a biracial child with a white father and a mother who was a slave, he was still considered a slave. When his father died , he was sent to work in a plantation home in Natchez, Mississippi. This became the town he remained in after the civil war ended. ...more
Mary Louise Sanchez
Sep 24, 2019 rated it it was amazing
An inspiring story of a man most people have never heard of, and to think he went from a slave to being a congressman. I particularly appreciated that the setting of this book was the Reconstruction era, which I have not seen depicted in a children's book before. ...more
Katelyn Huckle
Mar 29, 2017 rated it it was amazing
This is my Multicultural Book with the Carter G. Woodson Book Award. The genre for this book is Nonfiction Biography, because this book is written by Chris Barton and it is about John Roy Lynch's life, who was a real person that was born into slavery and later on became a representative of Mississippi.

The Target Audience for this book would be grades 4th and up, because the vocabulary is more complex with terms such as 'slavery' and 'transport steamer' etc. The story line is also more complex,
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I'm the author of picture books including bestseller Shark vs. Train, Sibert Honor-winning The Day-Glo Brothers, and Whoosh! Lonnie Johnson's Super-Soaking Stream of Inventions, which was included on 21 state reading lists.

My newest books include Fire Truck vs. Dragon, All of a Sudden and Forever: Help and Healing After the Oklahoma City Bombing, What Do You Do with a Voice Like That? The Story of

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