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A Boy Named Beckoning: The True Story of Dr. Carlos Montezuma, Native American Hero

by Gina Capaldi

Published by Carolrhoda, 2008
32 pages
ISBN: 978-0822576440

Ages 8-12

Podcast featuring this book

As a young Yawapati boy in 1871 ,Dr. Carlos Montezuma was stolen from his family and sold into slavery. Raised by a white man, traveling photographer Carlo Gentile, Carlos had an unusual childhood, marked by an unfamiliar language, customs, and people. He excelled in school and was accepted to the University of Illinois at age 14 and began medical school in Chicago at age 17. Although establishing himself as a doctor and later as a medical educator, Dr. Carlos Montezuma focused much of his life’s work on efforts as an activist. Having worked on reservations, Dr. Montezuma was keenly aware of the terrible conditions in which many Native Americans lived. He advocated for education and citizenship for his people as he believed these were the most important rights denied to them. In 1916, his famous speech “Let My People Go” was heard on the floor of the U.S. senate. The biographical portrait of this inspiring individual is brilliantly conveyed through the careful research of author Gina Capaldi. Almost as fascinating as Dr. Montezuma’s life history is the construction of the book itself. The text comes from a 1905 letter that Dr. Montezuma wrote to a professor at the Smithsonian Institute recounting his life. Stunning photographs, many taken by his adopted father Carlo Gentile, grace the cover and several sidebars throughout the book, along with relevant cultural and historical facts. A thoughtful author’s note launches the book, while a thorough epilogue and bibliography conclude the text. Gina Capaldi’s tender and emotional paintings bring warmth and depth to this incredible picture book biography. (TM) ©2008 Cooperative Children’s Book Center

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