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Go Forth and Tell: The Life of Augusta Baker, Librarian and Master Storyteller

Go Forth and Tell: The Life of Augusta Baker, Librarian and Master Storyteller

Illustrated by April Harrison


Go Forth and Tell: The Life of Augusta Baker, Librarian and Master Storyteller

About the Book

From an award-winning author and illustrator comes this picture book biography about beloved librarian and storyteller Augusta Braxton Baker, the first Black coordinator of children’s services at all branches of the New York Public Library.

Before Augusta Braxton Baker became a storyteller, she was an excellent story listener. Her grandmother brought stories like Br’er Rabbit and Arthur and Excalibur to life, teaching young Augusta that when there’s a will, there’s always a way. When she grew up, Mrs. Baker began telling her own fantastical stories to children at the 135th Street branch of the New York Public Library in Harlem. But she noticed that there were hardly any books at the library featuring Black people in respectful, uplifting ways. Thus began her journey of championing books, writers, librarians, and teachers centering Black stories, educating and inspiring future acclaimed authors like Audre Lorde and James Baldwin along the way.

As Mrs. Baker herself put it: “Children of all ages want to hear stories. Select well, prepare well and then go forth and just tell.”

Product Details

On sale: February 6, 2024
Age: 5-8 years
Grade: Grades K-3
Page count: 40 Pages
ISBN: 9780593324202
Reading level: Lexile: AD1050L | Fountas/Pinnell: O

Author Bio

Breanna J. McDaniel (she/her/hers) is the co-founder of REIYL (Researchers Exploring Inclusive Youth Literature) and the award-winning author of the picture book Hands Up! and Impossible Moon. A proud alumna of Emory University and Simmons University, she is currently a PhD researcher at Cambridge University.

April Harrison is a Coretta Scott King–John Steptoe award winning illustrator and renowned folk artist. Her work appears in the public collections of Vanderbilt University, Virginia Commonwealth University Medical Center, the Atlanta Housing Authority, and the Erskine University Museum, as well as in many private collections.


★ "Intricate details will draw novice readers back to the pages, while more experienced readers will find a treasure trove of biographical sources compiled by McDaniel . . . here’s thoughtfulness here in the craft and pacing of her prose, certainly; reverence, too, inthe textured layers of Harrison’s mixed-media and visual storytelling. But more than anything, simplecare is evident. Care for a Black librarian who sought out every gap a tale could bridge, who shattered barriers to ensure Black children would see themselves on library shelves, and whose legacy continues to this day exactly as it began—in the thrall of good stories." —Kirkus, starred review

★ "Brimming with color and texture, Harrison's illustrations incorporate acrylics, pen, and mixed-media collage elements that bestow a pleasing three-dimensional look to the scenes . . . Appended with a time line, sources, and author's note, this makes a worthy addition to library collections." —Booklist, starred review

★ "[A] glowing account of legendary storytelling librarian Baker . . . Harrison’s intricate mixed-media collages employ shifting scale to bring to life this vital history of a vital figure." —Publishers Weekly, starred review

★ "McDaniel gives an account of Baker’s life that is as celebratory as the heroes in her folktales, attesting that Baker internalized the message that 'where there’s a will, there’s a way'. Harrison’s exuberant mixed-media collage illustrations capture the vibrancy of both the storyteller and her stories, creating worlds and words that leap off pages." —Horn Book, starred review

★ "A blissful walk around the imagination for anyone who has ever been told, or has listened to,a transporting piece of storytelling . . . the colors, books, titles, typeface, faces, people, streets, and words that overflow these pages work intandem with the text to celebrate a life in stories and a life in service to others. An essential purchase not to be missed." —School Library Journal, starred review