Wednesday, September 3, 2008

They Were Strong and Good

They Were Strong and Good, written and illustrated by Robert Lawson, won the Caldecott Medal in 1941. It is the story of Lawson's parents and grandparents and their lives in America during the nineteenth century. It details the childhoods of each family member and how each couple met. The text is facile and slight with full page black and white illustrations on each facing page. Lawson had illustrated two previous winners Four and Twenty Blackbirds (Caldecott Honor 1938) and Wee Gillis (Caldecott Honor 1939).

This was another interlibrary loan book for me, from the Rochester Hills Public Library. The edition I read was a hardcover reprint from 1965. Wikipedia indicates that two revisions were made to the text. The deletion of words "tame ones" after a mention of Indians, and changing the words "colored boy" to "Negro slave." These changes took place after 1965 since the original text was still intact in the edition I read. Despite the revisions the book is still considered controversial.

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