Steamboat School: Inspired by a True Story

Hopkinson, Deborah. Steamboat School: Inspired by a True Story. Illustrated by Ron Husband, Disney-Jump at the Sun, an imprint of Disney Book Group, 2017. Steamboat School is based on the true story of Reverend John Meachum's resourceful circumvention of an 1847 Missouri statute that outlawed schooling for African Americans. This picture book sketches the evolution of Meachum's secret school from its location in a cellar, through its closure by police, to its reincarnation on a steamboat floating on the Mississippi River, well beyond the laws of any territory. It is also the transformative story of young James, one of the students, who comes to understand the importance of small acts of courage. Detailed pen and ink illustrations animate the story, accenting a world whose darkness is made lighter through education. A 2017 first place Jane Addams award for younger readers.


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