Tuesday, February 23, 2016

First Man: Reimagining Matthew Henson by Simon Schwartz –ADVISABLE

Schwartz, Simon First Man: Reimagining Matthew Henson 160 pgs. Graphic Universe 2015. $14.99  Content: Language: G (0 swears); Mature Content: PG13 (Cheating on a spouse) Violence: PG GRAPHIC NOVEL

This book is loosely based on the biography of real life explorer and world adventurer Matthew Henson. The reader is switched between views of him as an old man, working a menial job and looking downtrodden, and then him young again, during his years at sea. In both times we see him facing prejudice for being African American. Though he was accomplished both through his skills, his communication and work with Natives, and his accomplishments in reaching the North Pole, he received little credit.The author weaves in Intuit mythology as well.

This is a very interesting and eye opening read. I think that the fictionalization adds to the story and the sheer amount of facts makes this for sure worthwhile educational read. Its absolutely fascinating and also infuriating reading about Matthew Henson's life. Especially in regards to his accomplishments despite the prejudice that he had to face over and over again. Also of interest was the treatment of the Native Intuit people and the infighting about exploration accomplishments between rich white explorers. The artwork is stellar.

HS –ADVISABLE Reviewer: Stephanie Elementary School Librarian & Author.

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