Let ‘Er Buck! George Fletcher, the People’s Champion

It’s Wednesday which means that it is time for the Nonfiction Picture Book Challenge hosted by Kid Lit Frenzy. But it is also January, the month of Multicultural Children’s Book Day. So today you get two for the price of one!

There is something immensely powerful when the people realize who the true winner is even when the judges cling to prejudices. That is what happened to George Fletcher when he participated in the 1911 Saddle Bronc Championship at the Pendleton Round-Up, the biggest rodeo in the Northwest. While this is definitely not a widely known story, Vaunda Micheaux Nelson is hoping to make his story known in her new book Let ‘Er Buck! (Lerner Books, February 2019). Thank you very much to Lerner Publishing Group for sending me a copy of this book to review as a part of this year’s Multicultural Children’s Book Day and for continuing to be a sponsor of this important event.

George Fletcher was born in 1890 in Kansas, but his family moved west in 1900 and settled in Pendleton, Oregon. As Nelson says in her book, “there weren’t many black people in Eastern Oregon, and most whites in Pendleton didn’t cotton to them.” So George wound up making friends with children from the Umatilla Indian Reservation. Many of his horsemanship skills he learned from the Indians.

The majority of Let ‘Er Buck! focuses on the 1911 Saddle Bronc Championship. That year was an unusual and controversial year as it was the first time that a Native American, a European American, and an African American competed for a World Title in rodeo. 15,000 “fired up” fans came out to watch the event. Those fans were stunned when John Spain, the European American, won the event over Fletcher, especially as many felt that Spain had “pulled leather” which wasn’t allowed. Fletcher “took it like a cowboy,” having been used to injustices, but became the “People’s Champion” anyway.

Nelson does a remarkable job telling this story that is probably unknown to many. It is a story of perseverance in the face of racism. It shows that while we have had a history of racism, that there are people who believe that a job well done should be rewarded, regardless of the color of your skin.

As with most nonfiction picture books, Nelson also includes a fabulous section in the back with a glossary of rodeo and Western words, more information about George Fletcher, information about her research, and about the other 2 contestants in the Saddle Bronc. A very interesting addition to sports and multicultural biographies

Multicultural Children’s Book Day 2019 (1/25/19) is in its 6th year and was founded by Valarie Budayr from Jump Into A Book and Mia Wenjen from PragmaticMom. Our mission is to raise awareness of the ongoing need to include kids’ books that celebrate diversity in homes and school bookshelves while also working diligently to get more of these types of books into the hands of young readers, parents, and educators.

MCBD 2019 is honored to have the following
Medallion Sponsors on board

Medallion Level Sponsors Honorary: Children’s Book Council, The Junior Library Guild, TheConsciousKid.org. Super Platinum: Make A Way Media GOLD: Bharat Babies, Candlewick Press, Chickasaw Press, Juan Guerra and The Little Doctor / El doctorcito, KidLitTV, Lerner Publishing Group, Plum Street Press, SILVER: Capstone Publishing, Carole P. Roman, Author Charlotte Riggle, Huda Essa, The Pack-n-Go Girls, BRONZE: Charlesbridge Publishing, Judy Dodge Cummings, Author Gwen Jackson, Kitaab World, Language Lizard – Bilingual & Multicultural Resources in 50+ Languages, Lee & Low Books, Miranda Paul and Baptiste Paul,Redfin, Author Gayle H. Swift, T.A. Debonis-Monkey King’s Daughter, TimTimTom Books, Lin Thomas, Sleeping Bear Press/Dow Phumiruk, Vivian Kirkfield,

MCBD 2019 is honored to have the following
Author Sponsors on board

Honorary: Julie Flett, Mehrdokht Amini, Author Janet Balletta, Author Kathleen Burkinshaw, Author Josh Funk, Chitra Soundar, One Globe Kids – Friendship Stories, Sociosights Press and Almost a Minyan, Karen Leggett, Author Eugenia Chu, CultureGroove Books, Phelicia Lang and Me On The Page, L.L. Walters, Author Sarah Stevenson, Author Kimberly Gordon Biddle, Hayley Barrett, Sonia Panigrah, Author Carolyn Wilhelm,Alva Sachs and Dancing Dreidels, Author Susan Bernardo, Milind Makwana and A Day in the Life of a Hindu Kid, Tara Williams, Veronica Appleton, Author Crystal Bowe, Dr. Claudia May, Author/Illustrator Aram Kim, Author Sandra L. Richards, Erin Dealey, Author Sanya Whittaker Gragg, Author Elsa Takaoka, Evelyn Sanchez-Toledo, Anita Badhwar, Author Sylvia Liu, Feyi Fay Adventures, Author Ann Morris, Author Jacqueline Jules, CeCe & Roxy Books, Sandra Neil Wallace and Rich Wallace, LEUYEN PHAM, Padma Venkatraman, Patricia Newman and Lightswitch Learning, Shoumi Sen, Valerie Williams-Sanchez and Valorena Publishing,Traci Sorell, Shereen Rahming, Blythe Stanfel, Christina Matula, Julie Rubini, Paula Chase, Erin Twamley, Afsaneh Moradian, Claudia Schwam, Lori DeMonia, Terri Birnbaum/ RealGirls Revolution, Soulful Sydney, Queen Girls Publications, LLC

We’d like to also give a shout-out to MCBD’s impressive CoHost Team who not only hosts the book review link-up on celebration day, but who also works tirelessly to spread the word of this event. View our CoHosts HERE.

Co-Hosts and Global Co-Hosts: A Crafty Arab, Agatha Rodi Books, All Done Monkey, Barefoot Mommy, Biracial Bookworms, Books My Kids Read, Crafty Moms Share, Colours of Us, Discovering the World Through My Son’s Eyes, Descendant of Poseidon Reads, Educators Spin on it, Growing Book by Book, Here Wee Read,Joy Sun Bear/ Shearin Lee, Jump Into a Book, Imagination Soup, Jenny Ward’s Class, Kid World Citizen, Kristi’s Book Nook, The Logonauts, Mama Smiles, Miss Panda Chinese, Multicultural Kid Blogs, Raising Race Conscious Children, Shoumi Sen, Spanish Playground

TWITTER PARTY Sponsored by Make A Way Media!

MCBD’s super-popular (and crazy-fun) annual Twitter Party will be held 1/25/19 at 9:00pm.E.S.T. TONS of prizes and book bundles will be given away during the party. GO HERE for more details. FREE RESOURCES From MCBD Free Multicultural Books for Teachers: https://wp.me/P5tVud-1H Free Empathy Classroom Kit for Homeschoolers, Organizations, Librarians, and Educators: http://multiculturalchildrensbookday.com/teacher-classroom-empathy-kit/ Hashtag: Don’t forget to connect with us on social media and be sure and look for/use our official hashtag #ReadYourWorld.

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