Asim's approach to history was interesting, finding a slice of a famous character that fascinated him to the point of inquiry, but for which there was no additional evidence in Washington's direct records. This is the kind of point in research where historical fiction is all that is left to do! As such, Asim chose a very safe narrative, but one that is in keeping with the agenda to revive the reputation of Booker T. Washington as a vital figure.
Collier's mixed media collage, along with his painting is fresh. I was struck by his use of photographs of faces, which feels unusual to me. There is a beautiful page with a painting of Washington in the foreground but the forest of trees in the background is made entirely of photos of faces. I looked for a long time.
The end material was very good. Not only a timeline and additional fact sheet, but also an author's note and an illustrator's note gave me a sense of research and honesty about the inquiry. The bibliography gives about 4-5 key works for additional reading, none of which are children's books (which is fine!)