What Do You Know About John Henry?
June 16, 2010
Check out Ain't Nothing But a Man! In this stunning but short book, we follow the author as he researches the truth behind the myth of John Henry. The book is filled with pictures, illustrations, and real-life stories of the men who worked on the railroad. Following the historical trail of a myth is a long and arduous process, but Nelson manages to fill his book with important historical facts that draw you into the story of the real John Henry.
I wish there were more books like this. I have never been a lover of historical fiction or nonfiction, but having the story told in such a concise and interesting way really drew me in and made me love history and the research that goes into finding it. This juvenile companion to the adult book, Steel Drivin' Man: John Henry, The Untold Story of an American Legend, is a great stand-alone title that almost makes me want to read the longer version. I wish more authors would consider adapting their adult books for a juvenile audience. I know that Three Cups of Tea had some success with their Juvenile and Picture Book adaptations, but I would love to see more authors take this path.
WINNER 2009 - NCTE Notable Children's Trade Books in the Language Arts
WINNER 2008 - Publishers Weekly Best Children's Book of the Year
WINNER 2008 - Booklist Books for Youth Editors' Choice
WINNER 2008 - ALA Best Books for Young Adults
WINNER 2008 - ALA Notable Children's Book