by Caleb Powell (with a little help from Mommy and Daddy)
Up the Learning Tree by Marcia K. Vaughan and illustrated by Derek Blanks is about a boy, Henry Bell, who loves to learn, but since he’s a slave he’s not supposed to learn to read and write because his master will cut off a finger if he touches a book. But, Little Master Simon, one of the kids who is not a slave, goes to school and it is Henry Bell’s job to take him to and from school every day. And this is how Henry Bell learns to read and write.
Every day, if he finishes his chores early, Henry goes to Simon’s school and climbs up a Sycamore tree to secretly listen to Simon’s teacher teach her students. Since he doesn’t have a slate to write on, Henry carves his letters on the soft bark of the tree. By the end of the book, he has written a lot of letters and words on the tree.
One day, Simon’s teacher catches Henry and instead of getting him in trouble, she teaches him alone after school each day if no one is around. One afternoon, Ms. Hattie pulls out a map to teach Henry Bell geography. She showed him where he lives, America, and where his ancestors lived, Africa. In the story, Henry says, “I look at that map for a long time, etching the picture of Africa into my memory.”
Find out what happens when Miss Hattie gets caught teaching Henry Bell to learn!
This is a really good book and my mom likes it so much that she says it should be in every child’s home library.
Caleb is a 9-year-old homeschooler who is proving to be an all-around athlete. He plays soccer, basketball, flag football and runs track. In May 2005 he won a “Most Outstanding Performance” award at the District 2 Hershey Track and Field Championships, covering all of Northeast Florida. “While leading the soccer and football leagues in goals and touchdowns, Caleb is keenly aware of the feelings of the opposition and his teammates,” says Coach James May who coaches Caleb in each sport. “He never wants to run up the score against competitors,” May explains, “and uses his skills to create opportunities for even his least athletically-inclined teammates to score.”
When he’s not on the field, court or track increasing his skills with Coach May, Caleb enjoys joking around with his family and friends, swimming, and playing the piano and sports video games.