Skip to main content

Introduce Your Young Reader to Elijah Cummings With Biography and History in Beautifully Written Picture Book

Cindy Hewitt is a retired teacher with a passion for children's literature. Read-aloud stories add quality to a child's life experiences.

Beautifully Written Biography and Picture Book

History lesson for young readers

History lesson for young readers

Introduce Your Young Reader to Cummings as an Influence in Racial Justice

Carole Boston Weatherford's beautifuly written biography and picture book of Elijah Cummings is a perfect choice to teach young students the history of this important man in the development of racial justice through the years. The Faith of Elijah Cummings: The North Star of Equal Justice begins with his childhood difficulties in learning and his teachers' beliefs that he would never learn to read and write. Cummings grew up as the son of sharecroppers. An event in the summer of 1962 when other African American children joined a protest to integrate a pool in the nieghborhood as the first influential event that inspired Cummings to become an attorney. When his family moved to Baltimore, Cummings began to go to the library to do his homework because there was little space in their small home for studying. He worked very hard in his schoolwork and librarians became a large influence in his life. Elijah credited his parents as highly supportive in his life. Cummings graduated from Howard University and eventually became a much respected member of Congress.

Laura Freeman contributed her talents as an illustrator with beautiful illustrations that fill each page to tell Cumming's story. Weatherford includes a beginning page with remarks by Nancy Pelosi, who greatly admired Cummings. Pelosi writes that she describes Cummings as the future for children. He fought for things that were right and he truly was a "north star" for children to follow.

Weatherford also includes an Excerpt of Statement From the Congressional Black Caucus by Cummings on October 2019. A timeline of Cumming's life and a list of other sources for learning about him in a a bibliography at the end of the book. Sources for quotes from Cummings is also included.

The Faith of Elijah Cummings: The North Star of Equal Justice was published by Random House Studio and is recommended for ages 6-12. It has an ISBN of 978-0-593-30650-5.

Large Colorful Illustrations Help Tell History

Children's protest is first influence for Cummings to become an attorney

Children's protest is first influence for Cummings to become an attorney

Scroll to Continue

Bring the Biography of Cummings Into Your Classroom for History Lessons and Activities

Teachers who teach history for students in early elementary classrooms will want to add Carole Boston Weatherford's biography and picture book of Elijah Cummings to their classroom library. Biographies of historical figures for young students are great tools to teach history and present activities that will engage students in learning about our government.

*Read The Faith of Elijah Cummings: The North Star of Equal Justice in a story time session. Call attention to the fact that Cummings struggled with learning to read and the influence of librarians on his life.

*Call attention to the actions of his parents that influenced Elijah. They volunteered to cook for sick neighbors and provided food for hungry families in Baltimore. Cummings learned the value of volunteering to help others from his family.

*Call attention to Cumming's election to Congress. Teachers can take a side trip in learning to teach simple lessons about Congress and how our government works.

*Engage your students in a class discussion about volunteer activities that they can participate in. A class project to help the less fortunate in the community will spark interest in helping the less fortunate.

*Martin Luther King, Jr. was a large influence for Elijah Cummings. Teachers might like to use The Faith of Elijah Cummings: The North Star of Equal Justice if they mark Martin Luther King, Jr. Day in their classroom.

*Engage students in a class discussion of the people in Elijah's community who influenced him with their encouragement. Librarians, the pharmacist at a drugstore where he worked, and his church were all influential in his childhood. Engage students in a discussion of the people in their life who support them in their activities.

*Engage students in a discussion of what they like best about Cummings as an icon in African American history.

© 2022 Cindy Hewitt

Related Articles