Oldest Student (The Oldest Student) How Many Walker Learned to Read


Sometimes you feel like giving up. Sometimes you feel like everything is going wrong in your life. Sometimes you feel like things just can't get any better and you don't have anyone who believes in you or tells you to keep on trying.

For those moments and for those lives we need books like this one. This is the biography of a woman who was born in 1848, a slave. She lived to be 121 years old.

Those 121 years weren't easy, Mary knew the rules of the plantation: Keep working and slaves can't be taught anything that will make them believe they can have a better life and that includes reading and writing.

But, some lives are truly exceptional and the life of Mary Walker is one of them.    Her life is an empowering light.

Mary Walker was born in 1848 and she died in 1969.  Her life spanned the terms of 26 presidents including Abraham Lincoln.

When she was fifteen years old, the Emancipation Proclamation set her, her mother, her brothers and sisters free. Can you imagine what that meant to her?

She lived a life of family, hard work, and determination. By the time she was 114 years old she had outlived her entire family.  She still couldn't read.  She still couldn't write.  She believed she "didn't know anything."

But Mary knew the value of reading.  She knew that knowledge could be incredibly empowering and could open the doors to the world.  At the age of 116 she was determined to learn to read.  It wasn't easy for her but she never gave up.

Mary Walker had grit. We need to see the courage of others and the perseverance of others when their lives were difficult.   For 121 years that's exactly what Mrs. Mary Walker brought to the world and now her legacy stands to empower others.  "It's never too late to learn."

Rita Lorraine Hubbard puts us in the shoes of Mary Walker and lets us feel the trials and the hardships and the courage and the determination. Oge Mora raises us up with the hope and the light she always brings to her illustrations.

This one is special.

40 pages                                    978-1524768287                     Ages 5-9

Keywords:  biography, reading, literacy, slavery, African American, African American author, American history, diversity, diverse books, perseverance, grit, empowerment, encouragement, 5 year old, 6 year old, 7 year old, 8 year old, 9 year old, Social Studies Curriculum, Character Building Curriculum, Language Arts Curriculum


Imagine learning to read at the age of 116! Discover the true story of Mary Walker, the nation's oldest student who did just that, in this picture book from a Caldecott Honor-winning illustrator and a rising star author.

In 1848, Mary Walker was born into slavery. At age 15, she was freed, and by age 20, she was married and had her first child. By age 68, she had worked numerous jobs, including cooking, cleaning, babysitting, and selling sandwiches to raise money for her church.

At 114, she was the last remaining member of her family. And at 116, she learned to read.

From Rita Lorraine Hubbard and rising star Oge More comes the inspirational story of Mary Walker, a woman whose long life spanned from the Civil War to the Civil Rights Movement, and who--with perseverance and dedication--proved that you're never too old to learn.---from the publisher


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