John Henry

john henry julius lester

Winner of the 1995 Caldecott Honor Medal

Julius Lester and Jerry Pinkney's warm, humorous retelling of a popular African-American folk ballad.

When John Henry was born 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.---from the publisher

40 pages                      978-0140566222                         Ages 4-8

Keywords:  tall tale, courage, heroes, historical fiction, African American, African American author, folktale, multicultural, diversity, diverse books, 4 year old, 5 year old, 6 year old, 7 year old, 8 year old, Caldecott Honor

Read alike:  John Henry by Ezra Jack Keats

Editor's note: Illustrated by Jerry Pinkney, African American illustrator

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Other reviews:

* "This is a tall tale and heroic myth, a celebration of the human spirit . . . The story is told with rhythm and wit, humor and exageration, and with a heart-catching immediacy that connects the human and the natural world. " --Booklist, starred review

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