By Lisa Rivero, for The Children’s Book Review
Published: September 5, 2011
Oscar’s Gift: Planting Words with Oscar Micheaux
Fiction for Young Historians Ages 8-12 (and up)
by Lisa Rivero
The year is 1904 on the Rosebud Indian Reservation, and eleven-year-old Tomas, a son of Swedish immigrants, thinks that life is a game of chance. Now you see it. Now you don’t. His father. School. Dreams for the future. It doesn’t matter how hard he tries or how much he hopes. In the end, everything he loves can disappear with the delivery of a telegram.
Then one hot day, on a dusty, crowded street in Bonesteel, South Dakota, he sees a tall, dark, city-slicker of a man as they both are trying their luck in a land lottery. Tomas does not know that he has just met someone who will one day write novels about his homesteading life on the Great Plains and be known as America’s first African-American feature film maker. Oscar will also become his friend and mentor.
Could it be that Tomas’s luck is changing?
Oscar’s Gift uses a classic style and, in the digital versions, illustrative historical photographs to bring the rich diversity of history to modern young readers. The book includes ideas for activities and discussion questions.
Lisa Rivero lives in Milwaukee, Wisconsin where she is a writer and college writing instructor. She is a member of the Society of Children’s Book Writers & Illustrators, and her young adult book Smart Teens’ Guide to Living with Intensity was a 2010 National Indie Excellence Award finalist and named by the Arizona Book Publishing Association as a 2011 Glyph Award Winner for both Best Juvenile/Young Adult–Nonfiction Book and Best Psychology/Self-Help Book.
Oscar’s Gift as an ebook can be found online at Amazon, Barnes and Noble, and Smashwords. A paperback edition will be available in September, 2011.
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