As a part of our historical fiction presentation I read Steamboat School. The book focuses on the difficulty African-Americans had in receiving an education in the 1840's.
Steamboat School is the story of a boy named James. He is attending his first day of school. What James doesn't realize is that the school is located in a church basement and the students must be taught by candlelight. The students are taught by the Reverend John. The African-American students are working hard to learn when some white men and a state law prohibits their ability to be taught at the church. Reverend John with the help of James and his sister Tassie come up with a way to help the students learn.
Deborah Hopkinson does an excellent job of writing this historical fiction book based on the true story of John Berry Meachum. Meachum was a former slave who believed in the importance of education. He created different schools to help educate young African-Americans.
Hopkinson book is an excellent choice for educators. This book could be used as a back story to show the educational restrictions placed on African-Americans when discussing topics such as racial segregation and introducing Brown vs. the Board of Education of Topeka, Kansas.
I recommend adding this book to school libraries at all levels, public libraries, and the personal libraries of historical fiction lovers. Sara and I will be discussing this book further and providing more resources on this book at our Nerd Canp Session in two weeks. Some lucky individual will also get to take this book home. Look for Sara and I in our Two Nerdy Sisters t-shirts.