Searching for Sarah Rector : The Richest Black Girl in America
Children's - Grade 4-6, Age 9-11
Make Way For BooksReading this book is like sitting under a studied historian who shares facts culled from myriad sources with care. The museum-like quality of the book's page design and archived photographs lend authenticity to the telling of how a girl, born as a black member of the Muscogee tribe, whose history included forced relocation and the Trail of Tears, became wealthy. Bolden weaves an economics lesson into a colorful tapestry of Oklahoma expansion, land allotments, investments, lending, guardianships, greed, money, and race. The way events are explained and influential people are introduced gives readers time to digest important information. It is evident this was a painstaking work, as confirmed by a comment in the author's note: "Better to rest on research and reason than on scuttlebutt." This is as much about the lessons within the story as it is about how the author chose to craft it. A quality work.
Publisher SummaryRecounts the story of the 1914 disappearance of eleven-year-old Sarah Rector, an African American who was part of the Creek Indian people and whose land had made her wealthy, and what it reveals about race, money, and American society.
Sarah Rector was once famously hailed as the richest black girl in America." Set against the backdrop of American history, her tale encompasses the creation of Indian Territory, the making of Oklahoma, and the establishment of black towns and oil-rich boomtowns.
Rector acquired her fortune at the age of eleven. This is both her story and that of children just like her: one filled with ups and downs amid bizarre goings-on and crimes perpetrated by greedy and corrupt adults. From a trove of primary documents, including court and census records and interviews with family members, author Tonya Bolden painstakingly pieces together the events of Sarah's life and the lives of those around her.
The book includes a glossary, a bibliography, and an index.
Praise for Searching for Sarah Rector
"This handsome volume with its many photographs is carefully sourced and has a helpful glossary, illustration credits and index. Bolden admirably tells a complex story while modeling outstanding research strategy, as her insightful author's note attests."
--Kirkus Reviews, starred review
"This book will be extremely useful to teachers and librarians seeking material to align with Common Core State Standards dealing with the craft of writing of informational text."
--School Library Journal, starred review
"Bolden's remarks on tracking down Sarah's story will appeal to those who enjoy untangling historical mysteries."
--The Bulletin of the Center for Children's Books