Cover image for Schomburg : the man who built a library / Carole Boston Weatherford ; illustrated by Eric Velasquez.
Schomburg : the man who built a library / Carole Boston Weatherford ; illustrated by Eric Velasquez.
First edition.
Publication Information:
Somerville, Massachusetts : Candlewick Press, 2017.

Physical Description:
37 pages : colour illustrations ; 31 cm
Added Author:


Call Number
Material Type
Home Location
002.075 SCH WEA Book Junior Collection

On Order



In luminous paintings and arresting poems, two of children's literature's top African-American scholars track Arturo Schomburg's quest to correct history.

Where is our historian to give us our side? Arturo asked.

Amid the scholars, poets, authors, and artists of the Harlem Renaissance stood an Afro-Puerto Rican named Arturo Schomburg. This law clerk's life's passion was to collect books, letters, music, and art from Africa and the African diaspora and bring to light the achievements of people of African descent through the ages. When Schomburg's collection became so big it began to overflow his house (and his wife threatened to mutiny), he turned to the New York Public Library, where he created and curated a collection that was the cornerstone of a new Negro Division. A century later, his groundbreaking collection, known as the Schomburg Center for Research in Black Culture, has become a beacon to scholars all over the world.

Author Notes

Carole Boston Weatherford is a New York Times best-selling author and poet. Her numerous books for children include the Coretta Scott King Author Award Honor Book Becoming Billie Holiday, illustrated by Floyd Cooper, and the Caldecott Honor Books Moses: When Harriet Tubman Led Her People to Freedom, illustrated by Kadir Nelson, and Voice of Freedom: Fannie Lou Hamer, Spirit of the Civil Rights Movement, illustrated by Ekua Holmes. Carole Boston Weatherford lives in Highpoint, North Carolina.

Eric Velasquez is the illustrator of numerous books for children, including several previous collaborations with Carole Boston Weatherford. He won the John Steptoe New Talent Illustrator Award for his illustrations of The Piano Man, written by Debbi Chocolate. Eric Velasquez is also the author-illustrator of the Pura Belpré Illustrator Award-winning Grandma's Gift. Born in Harlem, he lives and works in Hartsdale, New York.

Reviews 2

Publisher's Weekly Review

In graceful free verse, Weatherford delivers a remarkable tribute to Arturo Schomburg, the Afro-Puerto Rican historian, collector, and activist who unearthed the hidden history and achievements of "Africa's sons and daughters." In addition to charting the path Schomburg's life took after emigrating to the U.S. from Puerto Rico, she gives ample attention to the knowledge he uncovered as he amassed books: "Schomburg chased the truth and turned up icons/ whose African heritage had been whitewashed," among them John James Audubon, Alexandre Dumas, and Alexander Pushkin, all of whom are captured with vibrancy and life in Velasquez's oil portraits. Schomburg's ambitions, scholarship, and accomplishments were tremendous-"There was no field of human endeavor/ that he did not till with his determined hand"-and Weatherford and Velasquez more than do justice to them. Ages 9-12. Agent: Rubin Pfeffer, Rubin Pfeffer Content. (Sept.) © Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved.

New York Review of Books Review

The great children's author Virginia Lee Burton was "quite magical," writes Rinker ("Goodnight, Goodnight, Construction Site"). An accomplished dancer, artist and textile designer, Burton was also an attentive mother who realized the role "big trucks" played in her two sons' imaginations. Magical, indeed: We watch her nimble pencil drawings grow, with the boys' help, into classics like "Mike Mulligan and His Steam Shovel." The polished art by Rocco ("Blackout") has an infectious energy, nailing the mid-20th-century aesthetic. SONIA DELAUNAY A Life of Color. By Cara Manes. Illustrated by Fatinha Ramos. 40 pp. Museum of Modern Art. $19.95. (Picture book; ages 5 - 9) "Art is all around us, always," the early 20th-century artist Sonia Delaunay says to her son in this ingenious book, part biography, part lesson in color and design theory. Manes, a curator at the Museum of Modern Art, has Delaunay, a pioneer of abstraction, take off in a colorful flying car to show her son the colors, patterns and textures that shape her work. Even sounds and feelings, she shows, can be incorporated into design. Ramos's lovely, playful art pulls off the tricky task of evoking Delaunay's while standing strongly on its own. RUTH BADER GINSBURG The Case of R.B.G. vs. Inequality. By Jonah Winter. Illustrated by Stacy Innerst. 40 pp. Abrams. $18.95. (Picture book; ages 6 -10) Structured like a legal argument to prove the injustices Ginsburg faced, this beautifully illustrated biography of the Supreme Court justice starts with her birth at a time when Jews faced "violence and vandalism" and daughters were "discouraged from going to college." You can almost hear the chorus of "That's not fair!" as Winter ("Lillian's Right to Vote") documents each fresh outrage Ginsburg stared down. "This happened right here in America," he reminds us. Innerst makes the pages look gently monumental, like R.B.G. herself. SERGEANT RECKLESS The True Story of the Little Horse Who Became a Hero. By Patricia McCormick. Illustrated by lacopo Bruno. 40 pp. Balzer and Bray. $17.99. (Picture book; ages 6 -10) Once there was a brave little sorrel mare who lived m a war zone, and some resourceful Marines trained her to carry heavy ammunition under fire. McCormick ("Never Fall Down") excels at bringing thrilling nonfiction stories to young readers, and this picture book about the horse awarded two Purple Hearts enthralls. With cinematic art by Bruno ("Mesmerized") bringing the big cast to life, it's an approachable introduction to the Korean War and a heartwarming example of "the mysterious bond between humans and animals." SCHOMBURG The Man Who Built a Library. By Carole Boston Weatherford. Illustrated by Eric Velasquez. 48 pp. Candlewick. $16.99. (Picture book; ages 9 - 12) The remarkable life and achievements of the Afro-Puerto Rican scholar, collector and curator Arturo Schomburg have ideal chroniclers in Weatherford ( "Freedom in Congo Square") and Velasquez ("Grandma's Gift"). Arturo's lifelong passion for collecting books, they show, was about "correcting history for generations to come" to include the contributions of people of African descent. In Velasquez's proud, realistic art, Schomburg and the greats he championed - overlooked inventors, artists and revolutionaries - tower. ONLINE An expanded visual presentation of this week's column is at