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Pathfinders: The Journeys of 16 Extraordinary Black Souls

Review

Pathfinders: The Journeys of 16 Extraordinary Black Souls

In PATHFINDERS, author Tonya Bolden shares sketches of 16 extraordinary African Americans, people she refers to as "pathfinders." Each one, in his or her own way, made a path for themselves, a way to survive and make a difference in their world.

"I learned a lot about this fascinating group of individuals. The writing is lively and the pages are filled with interesting illustrations and sidebars."

Among those included are Sadie Alexander, who participated in the Civil Rights movement; Jackie Ormes, a female cartoonist; James Forten, who was taken prisoner during the American Revolution but later became one of Philadelphia's leading opponents of slavery; and Richard Potter, who wowed audiences with his magic, hypnosis and ventriloquist acts.

The author includes helpful and additional information in each sketch. There are timelines of each person's life, historical facts about what was happening in the world during that person's life, as well as brief bios of other prominent figures from that time period. A Glossary, Notes and an Index can be found at the end of the book.

I enjoyed reading this book as, I must confess, I wasn't familiar with most of the people mentioned in the text. I learned a lot about this fascinating group of individuals. The writing is lively and the pages are filled with interesting illustrations and sidebars. A section at the back of the book called Selected Sources provides a list of the sources the author used to write the text. This list can be perused for ideas for further reading about these individuals.

This is a great book for those who are interested in African American history. The text would work particularly well as a resource in the classroom during Black History Month.

Reviewed by Christine M. Irvin on January 4, 2017

Pathfinders: The Journeys of 16 Extraordinary Black Souls
by Tonya Bolden

  • Publication Date: January 3, 2017
  • Genres: Children's 6-9, History, Nonfiction
  • Hardcover: 128 pages
  • Publisher: Abrams Books for Young Readers
  • ISBN-10: 1419714554
  • ISBN-13: 9781419714559