Carter Reads the Newspaper

It’s been a while since I shared a favorite picture book for Perfect Picture Book Friday due to all the fantastic new books coming out with creators willing to share part of their process on the blog. And so many terrific giveaways! Which reminds me…

The winner of LOUIS from illustrator Julie Rowan Zoch is…Tina Cho!

Today I want to slip in a recommendation of a book I saw a week ago and had to investigate. Anything from Deborah Hopkinson gets my attention. And Carter Reads the Newspaper is worth perusing and sharing! 

: Carter Reads the Newspaper

Written by: Deborah Hopkinson

Peachtree Publishers, 2020, biography

Illustrated by: Don Tate

Suitable for ages: 7-10

Themes/topics: African American history, US history, literacy


Each February we celebrate Black History Month. It’s a time to honor heroes like Harriet Tubman, Rosa Parks, and Martin Luther King, Jr.

But there’s one hero we sometimes forget.

Carter G Woodson didn’t help people escape from slavery, start a bus strike, or lead a movement of millions. Yet without him, we might not have Black History Month.

This is his story.


“Carter G. Woodson didn’t just read history. He changed it.” As the father of Black History Month, he spent his life introducing others to the history of his people.
Carter G. Woodson was born to two formerly enslaved people ten years after the end of the Civil War. Though his father could not read, he believed in being an informed citizen. So Carter read the newspaper to him every day. When he was still a teenager, Carter went to work in the coal mines. There he met a man named Oliver Jones, and Oliver did something important: he asked Carter not only to read to him and the other miners, but also research and find more information on the subjects that interested them. “My interest in penetrating the past of my people was deepened,” Carter wrote. His journey would take him many more years, traveling around the world and transforming the way people thought about history.

Activities and Resources:

  • Choose one of the African Americans pictured and learn more about them.
  • Interview and write a story about an African American, Native American, or someone you think needs their story to be told.
  • Media: Examine different types of media and compare how they tell stories. Which do you think is most powerful? Which do you trust to tell true stories?
  • Take a look at a newspaper and read some articles that interest you, or ask someone to read them to you. What would you like to know more about? How can you find out?
  • What’s one lesson you have learned outside of school? Who taught you? Why is it important?

Why I like this book:

Deborah Hopkinson is one of my favorite authors of historical picture books, and I always know there will be a lesson for me in how to shape a story.  She’s so good at making her “take-away” is a living, breathing part of the story.

Our stories are interwoven and intersect in all kinds of ways, and when the stories of a group are omitted, the fabric of our history is weak and full of holes. We see important threads of our history in Carter, his family, and the people he interacts with in life. And I love how one remark—that some people don’t have a history—can impact a person and set them on a special path. I also appreciated the idea that runs through the story of the importance of the lessons learned from others outside of school. History—inclusive of all—helps us understand our world today.

For more from the publisher click HERE.

Visit author Susanna Hill’s Perfect Picture Books for a plethora of picture books listed by title and topic/theme, each with teacher/parent activities and resources.

4 thoughts on “Carter Reads the Newspaper

  1. Thanks for highlighting this biography of Carter G. Woodson. His was a name that I’d heard mentioned over the years, usually during Black History Month, but I was never knowledgable about the nature of his important contributions to American history. Now I know, and I’m excited to learn even more in the pages of this biography.

    Liked by 1 person

  2. I think that between the two Deborah’s, Hopkinson and Wiles (MG and YA, but her first PB about Rachel Carson has come out), they’ve created a fantastic, historic and educational stack of literature for kids. And Don Tate always creates such beautiful pictures!

    Liked by 1 person

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