Book Review – The Book Itch: Freedom, Truth & Harlem’s Greatest Bookstore

U7mLCwAAQBAJSummary – The book tells the story of the a young boy named Lewis Michaux Jr. and his father, Lewis Michaux Sr. Lewis Michaux Sr. is the owner of the National Memorial African Bookstore. It is a bookstore that he worked hard to make a reality. He started the bookstore in order to get black people to read and talk about things that mattered; however, the bookstore was open to anyone and everyone. Lewis Michaux Sr. wanted to create a space where different people could come together and learn. The bookstore became a place where people from all walks of life came, including celebrities like Muhammad Ali and Malcom X. It is a beautiful story about a father who is passionate about books and about sharing his passion with others. He encourages his son to read, learn, and to ask questions. The story is more touching because it is told from the son’s perspective – the love and respect he has for his father is beautiful.

  1. Bestseller’s Lists or Awards
    A 2016 Coretta Scott King Illustrator Honor Book
  2. Themes – Sharing knowledge, father-son relationship, love of learning, love of reading, political change, equal rights
  3. Age Range – 4 to 8 Year Olds
  4. Author/Illustrator – Vaunda Micheaux Nelson/R. Gregory Christie
  5. PublisherCarolrhoda Books – A division of Lerner Publishing Group
  6. Year Published – 2015
  7. Original Retail Price – $17.99 for Hardcover Book
  8. Number of Pages – 31 (includes title page and body of the book)
  9. Word Count – 1,496 words total (includes only body pages). Average of 48 words per page.
  10. Complexity of Story – The words used and the information provided are a bit more advanced than other picture books I’ve read, but a lot of it has to do with the subject matter. Nonetheless, the information is not told in language that is too advanced for its intended audience.
  11. P.O.V. – The story is told from the young boy’s perspective.
  12. Dialogue? – There is dialogue.
  13. Rhyming? – There are some passages throughout the book that the dad repeats or has all over his store that are poetic and rhyme.
  14. What Makes it Special? – The subject matter is a very important one that is not always addressed or talked about with young children. The author manages to present the information in a way that doesn’t speak down to kids (instead it acknowledges that they are smart and mature enough to understand) and it also tackles it in such a graceful and beautiful way.
  15. What I like about this book? – I love the relationship between the dad and the son. There is clear mutual respect and love. The father tries encouraging his son to learn  and think for himself without necessarily trying to impose his own views on him. My favorite part in the book was when Lewis Michaux Sr. does not give up on his dream of opening a bookstore and works hard for every penny so that he can open a bookstore in Harlem. He is refused a loan by the bank, because they say, “black people don’t read.” But Lewis Michaux Sr. proves them wrong after he opens his bookstore.

Thank you for reading my book reviews. The purpose of these reviews is to break down and analyze bestselling and award winning books. It is crucial for writers and illustrators, that wish to be published, to do homework on what books are currently being sold and garnering awards. I hope to figure out what makes these books special and what attributes they share. I hope you will find this review helpful.

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