Published by Random House Studio
Summary: Elijah Cummings’ parents worked as sharecroppers on a South Carolina farm before moving to Baltimore to give their seven children a better life. Elijah struggled in school, but with the help of his parents, the librarians at his public library, and his first employers, he went on to Howard University and eventually became a lawyer. He served in the Maryland House of Delegates from 1983 until 1996, when he was elected to the U.S. House of Representatives. Elijah was elected chair of the Congressional Black Caucus in 2003; when he died in 2019, he became the first African American legislator to lie in state in the U.S. Capitol. Includes remarks by Nancy Pelosi and an excerpt of a statement from the Congressional Black Caucus following Elijah’s death as well as a timeline, a bibliography, and a list of sources. 40 pages; grades 1-5.
Pros: The first part of the book about Elijah’s early life is an inspiring testimony to the power of hard work and having mentors. The writing is engaging, and the illustrations are a kid-friendly enhancement of the text.
Cons: I don’t want to diminish Elijah Cummings’ considerable achievements, but to me, the second part of the book was less interesting than the first. If I were reading this to elementary kids, I would want to supplement it in some way to make it more engaging for them.
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