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No Small Potatoes: Junius G. Groves and His…
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No Small Potatoes: Junius G. Groves and His Kingdom in Kansas (edição: 2018)

de Tonya Bolden (Autor)

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Junius G. Groves came from humble beginnings in the Bluegrass State. Born in Kentucky into slavery, freedom came when he was still a young man and he intended to make a name for himself. Along with thousands of other African Americans who migrated from the South, Junius walked west and stopped in Kansas. Working for a pittance on a small potato farm was no reason to feel sorry for himself, especially when he's made foreman. But Junius did dream of owning his own farm, so he did the next best thing. He rented the land and worked hard! As he built his empire, he also built a family, and he built them both on tons and tons and tons of potatoes. He never quit working hard, even as the naysayers doubted him, and soon he was declared Potato King of the World and had five hundred acres and a castle to call his own. From award winning author Tonya Bolden and talented illustrator Don Tate comes a tale of perseverance that reminds us no matter where you begin, as long as you work hard, your creation can never be called small potatoes.… (mais)
Membro:kelliemagnuson
Título:No Small Potatoes: Junius G. Groves and His Kingdom in Kansas
Autores:Tonya Bolden (Autor)
Informação:Knopf Books for Young Readers (2018), Edition: Illustrated, 40 pages
Coleções:Sua biblioteca
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No Small Potatoes: Junius G. Groves and His Kingdom in Kansas de Tonya Bolden

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This is a biography of Junius G. Groves. He was born into slavery around 1860. Slavery was abolished in 1865 and is 1979 he moved to Kansas with $1.25 in his pocket. He took a farming job for 40 cents a day. With hard work he was promoted to foreman and eventually saved up enough money to buy his own land. This is an incredible story of the benefits of hard work and dreaming big. The last house Junius built for his family had twenty-two rooms and in 1902 he was crowned "Potato King of the World"! A timeline, glossary, notes and sources are included at the end of the book. This provides extra information for teachers to use in teaching students. An excellent story about a hard working man that I am glad to now know.
  Michelle_Hupperten | Jul 29, 2020 |
This award-winning author brings us the story of Junius G. Groves, born into slavery in Kentucky in 1859. He went on to become one of the wealthiest black Americans of his time, earning the moniker in 1902 of “Potato King of the World” after out-producing every one else in America.

When Groves was twenty, he left Kentucky and became an “Exoduster,” one of thousands of people from the South who “shook the dust from their feet” and headed west to the Plains to make better lives for themselves and their families.

Groves is said to have walked the whole way to Kansas - more than five hundred miles - working at odd jobs along the way. He ended his journey in the Great Kaw Valley near Kansas City, and got a job on a potato farm. Under his care the crops thrived so much that he was promoted to foreman of the whole farm. Groves also rented nine acres from his boss to grow his own crops, some of which were white potatoes.

Groves continued to rent more land, growing ever more potatoes. He was helped by his wife Matilda. In 1884, they bought eighty acres near the mouth of the Kaw River. They worked hard, paid off the loan to buy the land in just a year, and bought more - eventually owning more than 500 acres. Because of his astounding success in optimizing potato growth, a railroad company even built a special spur to his potato house. But he wasn’t done yet.

The author writes:

“Over the years, the Potato King grew more than a big family, more than cabbage and carrots and corn, more than fruit trees. More than potatoes.

Junius G. grew jobs - hiring farmhands.
Junius G. grew a park - Groves Park.
And a cozy community - Grovers Center.
And a church - Pleasant Hill Baptist.
A store that sold groceries and other goods.
A golf course, too.”

Groves had a large family to take care of as well. According to the Kansas Historical Society, “Groves and his wife, Matilda, built a 20-room mansion, which featured the latest comforts of the day — electricity, hot and cold running water, and telephones.” Moreover, although the author doesn’t go into details, much of what Groves built was for the benefit of other African American families. For his Groves Center community, small tracts of land were sold to black families, and the golf course was for the use of African Americans, a rare amenity in the segregated country at that time.

Groves was a founding member of the Kansas State Negro Business League, the Kaw Valley Potato Association, the Sunflower State Agricultural Association, and the Pleasant Hill Baptist Church Society. He was featured in Booker T. Washington's book, The Negro in Business, (1907).

Junius Groves died in 1925.

The author concludes with a timeline, a glossary, and a list of selected sources for more information.

Illustrator Don Tate, also an award winner, uses mixed media illustrations dominated by the green and brown colors of the farm to flesh out the story.

Evaluation: The author celebrates all of Groves’ achievements without going into the mechanics. How did he overcome the racist attitudes and policies of his time? What was he doing that made his potato farming so much more successful than anyone else’s? Adults who read this book to kids may want to follow up on the story by pursuing some of the resource materials provided by the author. But the positive focus on achievement and what can be accomplished by hard work will provide plenty of thought-provoking and inspirational appeal to the intended audience of ages 5-8. ( )
1 vote nbmars | Aug 10, 2019 |
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Junius G. Groves came from humble beginnings in the Bluegrass State. Born in Kentucky into slavery, freedom came when he was still a young man and he intended to make a name for himself. Along with thousands of other African Americans who migrated from the South, Junius walked west and stopped in Kansas. Working for a pittance on a small potato farm was no reason to feel sorry for himself, especially when he's made foreman. But Junius did dream of owning his own farm, so he did the next best thing. He rented the land and worked hard! As he built his empire, he also built a family, and he built them both on tons and tons and tons of potatoes. He never quit working hard, even as the naysayers doubted him, and soon he was declared Potato King of the World and had five hundred acres and a castle to call his own. From award winning author Tonya Bolden and talented illustrator Don Tate comes a tale of perseverance that reminds us no matter where you begin, as long as you work hard, your creation can never be called small potatoes.

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