No Small Potatoes: Junius G. Groves and His Kingdom in Kansas
No Small Potaotos is a true story about a guy named Junius G. Groves. He was a slave in Kentucky. After slavery was abolished, Junius, at twenty years old, walked to Kansas and landed a job on a potato farm earning forty cents a day. Eventually, he received one hundred twenty-five cents a day. Junius was a sharecropper; he rented land and tools from his boss, J.T. Williamson, and agreed to give her a share of the crops. Junius and his wife, Matilda E. Stewart, both planted potatoes on the farm. He and his wife worked other odd jobs as well, like chopping firewood so that they could buy their own land. By 1884, Junius and Matilda had $2200, but they needed more—$1400 more. They paid $2200 and promised to pay the rest in a year. Eventually, they bought eighty acres. In 1902, Junius G. was named “Potato King of the World!”
No Small Potaotos is a good read with helpful tools for learning. It has a classic feel to it with lots of alliteration; I also thought the pictures were beautiful. The back of the book defines some of the unusual terms like “blister beetles” and “Exodusters.” Be sure to check out the letter from the illustrator next to the acknowledgments; it is fascinating. I recommend this book to teachers or kids ten and up.
|Tonya Bolden • Don Tate, Illustrator
|Knopf Books for Young Readers
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