Marie Bradby created a rich text in More Than Anything Else. A young boy shares his thoughts through the book, giving you a glimpse into history and a boys dream. The book takes place post slavery. The work is hard for little pay. The boy is young – nine years old and working in a salt mine. He has a strong desire to learn to read.
“I think about the hunger still in my head – reading.”
One evening, the boy hears an African-American reading the newspaper. The boy is delighted. He can see his dream of reading changing from a hope to a reality. He shares his desire with his mother, who somehow brings home a book of the alphabet. She calls it a song. He practices writing the letter shapes in doesn’t know the sounds. He longs to know the sounds.
One night the boy searches for the man. The man explains the letters and sounds. The illustrator, Chris K. Soentpiet, creates the excitement through the bright yellows contrasting in the dark setting. The boy wants to know more, so the man writes the boy’s name – BOOKER.
This is Booker T. Washington’s story. Notice the dedication part; it gives the clue.
Savorings for reading and in writing for More Than Anything Else:
- Sensory Description – chill of the evening, arms ache, stomach rumbles
- Figurative language – it’s used throughout the story
- Love of Reading –
- Character thinking – “More than anything else, I want to learn to read.”
- Background Knowledge – hardship after slavery, dreams