John Henry: An American Legend Ezra Jack/KeatsJohn Henry: An American Legend Ezra Jack/Keats
Ezra Jack Keats
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Retelling the classic story of song-legend John Henry, the text and illustrations by author Ezra Jack Keats bring Henry's strength to life. One of the great American legends, see the steel-driving man race the steam drill and start a tale in the process. Softcover.
     

 
John HenryJohn Henry
Julius Lester
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The birds, bears, rabbits, and even a unicorn came to see him. He grew so fast, he burst right through the porch roof, and laughed so loud, he scared the sun! Soon John Henry is swinging two huge sledgehammers to build roads, pulverizing boulders and smashing rocks to smithereens. He's stronger than ten men and can dig through a mountain faster than a steam drill. Nothing can stop John Henry, and his courage stays with us forever.

Julius Lester's folksy retelling of a popular African-American folk ballad has warmth, tall tale humor, and boundless energy. Jerry Pinkney illustrates the story with "rich colors borrowed from the rocks and the earth, so beautiful that they summon their own share of smile and tears." Recommended for ages 4 and up. A 1995 Caldecott Honor book.
     


 
Ain't Nothing but a Man: My Quest to Find the Real John HenryAin't Nothing but a Man: My Quest to Find the Real John Henry
Scott Reynolds Nelson
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For history-lovers, researchers, students and anyone who knows the song "John Henry", this fascinating journey takes us through the research of author Scott Reynolds Nelson as he attempts to track down the real John Henry. Beginning with the lyrics from the song, he measures it against the work and rhythms of the "trackliners"; visits the supposed location of the race between John Henry and the Steam Drill; searches through boxes of dusty library records and journeys to the sites where John Henry might have lived, worked and died. When he finally reaches a breakthrough, the reader excitedly sees where what could have been dead-end research falls into place, giving up a portrait of who John Henry was and why he became the hero of the song. Historical photographs and artwork depicting John Henry is included throughout on sepia-toned pages. 64 pages with appendices, a map, and notes on how to be a historian; indexed. Hardcover with dust jacket. Ages 10-14.
     

 
John HenryJohn Henry
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