The riches of Oseola McCarty

Author Coleman, Evelyn
Language English
Morton Grove Ill.: Albert Whitman, 1998


A brief biography of Oseola McCarty, a hard-working washer woman who, without a formal education herself, donated a portion of her life savings to the University of Southern Mississippi to endow a scholarship fund for needy students.

Subjects :

  • African Americans Biography
  • Women Biography
  • Women Benefactors Biography
  • Laundresses
  • University Of Southern Mississippi Benefactors
  • McCarty, Oseola
  • African American Women Biography
  • Hattiesburg (Miss.) Biography
  • Scholarships History
  • Philanthropists
  • McCarty, Oseola Juvenile Literature
  • Laundresses Biography

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Author Illustrator(s) :

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Best Books :

  • Best Children's Books of the Year, 2000 , Special Interests Biography
  • Children's Catalog, Eighteenth Edition, 2001 , None
  • Children's Catalog, Nineteenth Edition, 2006 , None
  • Children's Literature Choice List, 1999 , Short Books or Picture Books with More Text Than Usual for Younger Readers (Children 5 to 10)
  • Smithsonian Magazine's Notable Books for Children, 1998 , Middle Reader

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Awards, Honors & Prizes :

  • Carter G. Woodson Book Award , Elementary , 1999
  • Society of School Librarians International Book Awards , Social Studies( K-6) , 1999

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State & Provincial Reading List :

  • Children's Crown Award; None 2002-2002
  • Texas Bluebonnet Award; None 2000-2001
  • Young Hoosier Book Award; Intermediate Book 2003-2003

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Reading Measurement Programs:

() .

Lexile, MetaMetrics, Inc.

Reading Counts-Scholastic
Reading Level 5.4
Interest Level 3-5
Title Point Value 3

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Reviews :

Ilene Cooper (Booklist)
The name Oseola McCarty may not be immediately familiar, but many will recall her as the washerwoman who saved money her whole life and then gave the hard-won fortune to the University of Mississippi for scholarships. She wanted others to have the education she had to forgo. Coleman conducted interviews with McCarty, her friends, and family, and this original research shows in the solid text. Coleman traces McCarty's life as a poor child growing up with her grandmother, helping in the family washing business; at the same time, the author concisely and subtly describes race relations in the South. One telling fact: McCarty was pleased when her clientele began to include blacks; it meant they were moving up in society. The book's pinnacle--in which McCarty gives away her money--is underplayed, but that seems to fit in with McCarty's modest lifestyle. Daniel Minter's wonderful woodcuts enliven the text and add depth to the story. An author's note and a double-page spread on creating a savings plan are informative. A good choice for Black History Month. Category: Middle Readers. 1998, Albert Whitman, $14.95. Gr. 3-7.
(PUBLISHER: Albert Whitman (Morton Grove Ill.:), PUBLISHED: 1998.)

Marilyn Courtot (Children's Literature)
At the tender age of five, Oseola, also known as Ola, went to live with her grandmother and an aunt. Her grandmother was a laundress in Hatiesburg, Mississippi, who made her own soap. The entire family worked hard in their laundry business and, by the time she was in the sixth grade, Ola dropped out of school because she was needed in the business. It was hard work, six long days each week, and the pay was meager. Ola, her grandmother, and her aunt persevered and they even managed to save money in their own savings accounts. Ola never stop learning and she often reflected on how much she would have liked to have had an opportunity to further her education. For more than eighty years, Ola washed and ironed clothes for other people, saved her money and lived frugally. In 1995, she established a scholarship fund of $150,000 at the University of Southern Mississippi to help a high school graduate go to college. Her gift was widely acclaimed and she received the Presidential Citizens Medal. This truly inspirational story is illustrated with simple woodcut prints that are reproduced in black and white and bordered appropriately by a clothespin motif. The concluding pages include notes, information about other resources and guidance for setting up a savings plan. 1998, Albert Whitman, $14.95. Ages 7 up.
(PUBLISHER: Albert Whitman (Morton Grove Ill.:), PUBLISHED: 1998.)

Susie Wilde (Children's Literature)
Oseola, or Ola as she was called by her family, was born in Mississippi near the turn of the century. She grew up primarily with her grandmother and aunt, two women determined to get ahead by their own hard work. This easy-to-read large print biography gives a number of specifics that let children understand how times have changed and what Ola was up against. She was deprived of education by poverty and the Jim Crow laws. Oseola washed clothes and did hair for eight decades. She found continual reward and pride in jobs well done as her savings mounted. At 87, Oseola established a trust of $150,000 to provide scholarships so that others could have the privilege she was denied. Ola is a model of a woman who, far from being embittered at her own educational deprivation, gave generously so that others could benefit from her hard work. Oseola is an inspiration to a generation that sometimes forgets that earning pride and respect is as important as accumulating money. The heroine of this story is still alive. 1998, Whitman, $14.95. Ages 6 to 10.
(PUBLISHER: Albert Whitman (Morton Grove Ill.:), PUBLISHED: 1998.)

Kirkus (Kirkus)
Coleman (To Be a Drum, p. 264, etc.) writes with feeling of an African-American woman whose work ethic proved inspiring. At the age of five Oseola (Ola) McCarty moved to Hattiesburg, Mississippi with her grandmother and aunt. Both the women worked hard every day, and Ola was taught to do all the things they did, from making soap, to washing the clothes by hand on a washboard, to heating the irons on the stove to press the stubborn wrinkles out of the damp garments and linens. For their backbreaking work, which started at seven in the morning and lasted until late at night, Ola and her grandmother were paid 50 cents a bundle--as much as a customer could tie into a bedsheet. Still, Ola learned that it was important to save as much as she could every week in a bank account. A lifetime later, at 87, Ola had to quit working for health reasons, but wondered what to do with the considerable amount of money she had saved; she decided to give most of what she had--well over $150,000--to the University of Southern Mississippi for a scholarship fund, which was named for her. The action brought her fame and many awards, but Ola remained the frugal person she had always been. The story, illustrated with black-and-white woodcut-like prints, is full of wisdom and quiet courage; readers will be drawn to the simplicity of the habits that led to Ola's riches. A small, fine book. 1998, Whitman, $14.95. © 1998 Kirkus Reviews/VNU eMedia, Inc. All rights reserved.
(PUBLISHER: Albert Whitman (Morton Grove Ill.:), PUBLISHED: 1998.)

Elaine A. Bearden (Bulletin)
Evelyn Coleman illuminates the life of Oseola (Ola) McCarty, who began helping her grandmother with a home-based laundry service as a child. Together, with an aunt, they made between fifty cents to a dollar-fifty per bundle of clothes. What makes McCarty s life remarkable is that, at the age of eighty-seven, she had saved enough money to donate $150,000 to the University of Mississippi in Hattiesburg for student scholarships. Coleman purposefully tells McCarty s story, including the grueling details of the laundry business before washing machines and Ola s savvy updating of her procedures as washing machines came into style. Coleman s passion for her subject is clear, but her delivery is overshadowed by her purpose: [to] show that education is a wonderful opportunity that cannot be taken for granted; that through savings, even small amounts of money can grow to large sums; and that work, no matter how ordinary, can be a source of great pride and satisfaction. Minter s black-and-white linocuts are sometimes strong and sweeping but sometimes somewhat slick and cartoonish. A note outlines the author s intent, and a guide suggests ideas for developing a personal savings plan. An accessible bibliography for children is not included, but primary source material is listed. Coleman showcases an unusual figure in American history for beginning chapter-book readers and those looking for strong female role models, especially from the African-American community. Review Code: Ad -- Additional book of acceptable quality for collections needing more material in the area. (c) Copyright 1999, The Board of Trustees of the University of Illinois. 1998, Whitman, 48p, $14.95. Grades 2-4.
(PUBLISHER: Albert Whitman (Morton Grove Ill.:), PUBLISHED: 1998.)

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Publication Details:

  Publisher ISBN Notes
Morton Grove Ill.: Albert Whitman, 1998

Media Type: Language Material
48 p.:
F349.H36 (976.2/18)
Albert Whitman (Morton Grove Ill.:), PUBLISHED: 1998.,

Media Type:


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