Perfect Picture Book Friday: THE OLDEST STUDENT – How Mary Walker Learned to Read PLUS Giveaway

Happy Perfect Picture Book Friday, dear friends! This is the FIRST post of the new year!

I’m so excited about this book…for many reasons. The subject of the story is an amazing woman! The author and her publisher are generously offering a copy of the book as a giveaway! And the text and illustrations are INCREDIBLE! You are in for a real treat.

the oldest student

THE OLDEST STUDENT: How Mary Walker Learned to Read

Written by Rita Lorraine Hubbard

Illustrated by Oge Mora

Published by Scwartz and Wade (January 7, 2020)

Ages: 4-8 (that’s what Amazon says, but I’d say it is suitable for 9-12 as well)

Themes: Perseverance, learning to read, overcoming obstacles

Synopsis from Amazon:

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.

Why I love this book:

  • I love true stories…and although the author had to fill in some assumptions to creative an engaging narrative, I would consider this nonfiction…such a picture book is a wonderful vehicle to spark interest on the part of kids and to inspire them to never give up on their dreams!
  • This is a story that is filled with heart – the unbelievable story of a woman who learned to read at the age of 116…her motto was: You Are Never Too Old To Learn – Mary Walker is my hero!
  • The wonderful illustrations add another layer of emotion – I love the color palette and the focus that is always on Mary.

And here are a few STARRED reviews the book has already received:

“A lovely, inspirational picture-book biography about beating the odds and achieving your dreams.” —Booklist, starred review

“Walker’s determination and her long, long life—she died at 121—offer genuine inspiration.” —Publishers Weekly, starred review

Enjoy this book with every child you know; let Mary Walker become a household name.” —Kirkus Reviews, starred review

RELATED ACTIVITIES:

Make an ABC Book

alphabet-booksPhoto Courtesy: https://www.artistshelpingchildren.org

For details on how to construct an book: https://www.artistshelpingchildren.org/bookmaking-crafts-make-books.html

Do your children have their own library cards? If not, please visit your local library and help them get one – our libraries are wonderful resources, not only for books, but also for programs for the entire family. And don’t forget to ask your library to purchase your favorite books for their collection – check to see if they have THE OLDEST STUDENT in their catalogue…and if they don’t, please request that they add it to the shelves.

Don’t forget to leave a comment for a chance to win a copy of THE OLDEST STUDENT…and please share on your social media so I can put another ticket in the giveaway hat for you.

Thank you all so much for spending your precious time with me…I’m wishing you all a very Happy and Healthy New Year. Have you made resolutions or a set of goals or do you have a dream you are building into reality?

69 thoughts on “Perfect Picture Book Friday: THE OLDEST STUDENT – How Mary Walker Learned to Read PLUS Giveaway

  1. I tutor adults through a volunteer program at my library and I’m going to recommend this book to the coordinator. I’d seen the title, but had no idea just how old she was until reading this post.

    Like

    • Hi Laura, I was very young when I first heard about Mary, and her age didn’t faze me because EVERYBODY seems old when you’re 9 or 10 years old. But years later when I decided to write about her, I remember being blown away about just how old she really was. She was and still is an inspiration! Hope your students enjoy it.

      Liked by 1 person

      • Thanks for responding, Rita! Yes, funny how when you’re 9 or 10 there’s not much difference between a 25 year old and any other adult. Best of luck with your book. I’m not commenting to win, just love reading about new books.

        Liked by 1 person

  2. Inspirational for sure! This book sounds irresistible, I can’t wait to see it on bookshelves. Thanks for this preview, Vivian, it’s a great reminder for all of us to never give up.

    Like

    • Hi Beth, her story really is an inspiration. Whenever I feel like complaining about how long a goal is taking to come to fruition, I remember Mary.

      Like

    • Hi Jeanine, so true! Mary’s story inspired me to reach back and write some of the stories I made up in elementary school (and believe me, that was a long, LONG time ago!) and try to bring them to the bookshelves. It’s never too late, right?

      Like

  3. Wow, what an inspirational story, and the illustrations look great! Hope I win a copy so I can read this to my young twins!

    Like

  4. I’m stunned at Mary Walker’s age when she decided to learn to read. I’m also amazed by anyone getting to celebrate their birthday 116 times! A person can accomplish a great deal given such a long life. I’m looking forward to settling back with this book and a cup of tea for an enjoyable read with my cozy dog.

    Liked by 1 person

  5. I am so excited to read this book! Miss Mary Walker is a “Shero” for the ages, and I’m mad that I’d never heard a thing about her before now. Thank you, Rita, for sharing her inspiring life story with the world.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Thanks SO much Beth! Mary’s story reminds me of so many women who put themselves last so that others have what they need. Thanks for your encouraging words!

      Like

  6. What a remarkable true story about how you’re never too old to learn This will inspire children and certaiinly engage them in interesting discussions. Rita was so fortunate to discover her story and share it with the world! Going to the top of my list!

    Like

    • Writing this story gave me goosebumps too, Katie. And it stopped me from complaining when things didn’t happen as quickly as I wanted them to!

      Like

  7. What a great inspiration for littles – to see someone old learning to read! One of my, and my 2nd graders favorite stories each year was about a granddaughter teaching grandma how to read. Every year kids were surprised by who the teacher was. I loved watching the surprise dawn on their faces.

    Liked by 1 person

  8. Congrats on the book, Rita! I am so excited for this one. I can’t wait to share it with my students! They could use a reminder to persevere when things get tough. Mary Walker is a true inspiration! Thank you for this opportunity to win a copy.

    Like

    • Hi CeCe, I feel the same way. I’ve been complaining about the learning curve for some of the social networks out there, and have avoided some of them like the plague. But then I think of Mary and I know I don’t have an excuse. 😀

      Like

  9. I have always told my kids and grandkiddies that we all must learn something new every day!! This story is wonderful and proves this even more!!! Thank you. 🙂

    Like

    • Hi Heavenly, what kind and beautiful words. I, too, have an elderly relative I want to inspire. She once wanted to write but now feels it’s too late. I’m hoping Mary’s story will inspire her, too.

      Like

  10. As you suggested, Vivian, this book sounds like a perfect entry into the world of reading for more than just the youngest. What a perfect vehicle for introducing the wonders of the printed word, and the magic of being able to read, to anyone – of any age- who may also just be learning English! And the cover suggests a wonderful illustration-journey inside!

    Like

  11. This looks like an outstanding book–an inspiring story combined with amazing illustrations. My grandmother went back to complete her high school diploma late in life because it always bothered her that she left before graduating due to difficult circumstances. She was far younger than 116, but her perseverance and her humility about her accomplishments are a constant source of inspiration for me. And she would be shocked by that–she always thought that the things she did were so ordinary.

    Like

Leave a Reply to Writer on the run Cancel reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.