The Amazing Age of John Roy Lynch

Author: Chris Barton

Illustrator: Don Tate

Published: April 1, 2015

Publisher: Eerdmans Publishing

John Roy Lynch spent most of his childhood as a slave in Mississippi, but all of that changed with the Emancipation Proclamation. Suddenly people like John Roy could have paying jobs and attend school. While many people in the South were unhappy with the social change, John Roy thrived in the new era. He was appointed to serve as justice of the peace and was eventually elected into the United States Congress.This biography, with its informative backmatter and splendid illustrations, gives readers an in-depth look at the Reconstruction period through the life of one of the fi rst African-American congressmen.

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Click here to download the Educator Guide written by educator Debbie Gonzales.




[F]ascinating story . . . Tate’s often expansive illustrations emphasize important incidents in the text. A reference to harsh laws passed by whites is coupled with a dramatic two-page spread of a whipping, a potential lynching and lots of angry white faces in the foreground, fists clenched. A small African American boy covers his eyes at the scene. The horrors of a school burning shows praying figures overshadowed by masked attackers with burning torches. The emphasis in other illustrations is on faces, full of emotion add to the power of the telling and the rich soft tones of Tate’s palette welcome the eye to linger.”
***Starred Review***


Publisher’s Weekly

“Barton offers an immersive, engaging, and unflinching portrait of the difficulties of the Reconstruction era, while Tate’s cartoonlike artwork softens moments of cruelty and prejudice without diminishing them.” ***Starred Review***


School Library Journal

“Tate’s illustrations, rendered in mixed media, ink, and gouache on watercolor paper, are extraordinary . . . VERDICT Teachers will find this remarkable story of hope and perseverance a valuable supplement to social studies lessons on the Civil War and Black History Month.”



“A picture book worth reading about a historical figure worth remembering.”



2016-2017 Texas Bluebonnet Award Master List

• Notable Social Studies Trade Books for Young Readers, 2016

 Chicago Public Library’s Best Informational Books for Young Readers 2015

• Parent’s Choice Foundation, Silver Award Honor, Spring 2015 Picture Books

• ABC Children’s Group at the American Booksellers Association, 2015 Best Books for Young Readers

• Library of Congress’s Center for the Book, 2015 52 Great Reads, Mississippi


• Wonders in the Dark: Caldecott Medal Contenders: The Amazing Age of John Roy Lynch

• Bibliography for The Amazing Age of John Roy Lynch

• Eerdlings: Five Questons with Chris Barton

• Shelf-Employed

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