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Black Heroes of the Wild West

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True stories from the Wild West, but not like you’ve seen in the movies. This graphic novel by JAMES OTIS SMITH celebrates the extraordinary true tales of three black heroes who took control of their destinies and stood up for their communities in the Old West. Born into slavery in Tennessee, Mary Fields became famous as “Stagecoach Mary,” a cigar-chomping, cardplaying coac True stories from the Wild West, but not like you’ve seen in the movies. This graphic novel by JAMES OTIS SMITH celebrates the extraordinary true tales of three black heroes who took control of their destinies and stood up for their communities in the Old West. Born into slavery in Tennessee, Mary Fields became famous as “Stagecoach Mary,” a cigar-chomping, cardplaying coach driver who never missed a delivery. Bass Reeves, the first black Deputy US Marshal west of the Mississippi, was one of the wiliest lawmen in the territories, bringing thousands of outlaws to justice with his smarts. Bob Lemmons lived to be 99 years old and was so good with horses that the wild mustangs on the plains of Texas took him for one of their own.


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True stories from the Wild West, but not like you’ve seen in the movies. This graphic novel by JAMES OTIS SMITH celebrates the extraordinary true tales of three black heroes who took control of their destinies and stood up for their communities in the Old West. Born into slavery in Tennessee, Mary Fields became famous as “Stagecoach Mary,” a cigar-chomping, cardplaying coac True stories from the Wild West, but not like you’ve seen in the movies. This graphic novel by JAMES OTIS SMITH celebrates the extraordinary true tales of three black heroes who took control of their destinies and stood up for their communities in the Old West. Born into slavery in Tennessee, Mary Fields became famous as “Stagecoach Mary,” a cigar-chomping, cardplaying coach driver who never missed a delivery. Bass Reeves, the first black Deputy US Marshal west of the Mississippi, was one of the wiliest lawmen in the territories, bringing thousands of outlaws to justice with his smarts. Bob Lemmons lived to be 99 years old and was so good with horses that the wild mustangs on the plains of Texas took him for one of their own.

30 review for Black Heroes of the Wild West

  1. 4 out of 5

    Rod Brown

    These brief little life sketches should serve to whet the appetites of young readers to find out more about the featured individuals -- I know I want to. I really appreciated all the photographs throughout, and the text pieces at the end added a lot of terrific context, though they may be a bit too dense for younger readers.

  2. 4 out of 5

    Melki

    Yep - it's another one of those "we make learnin' fun" books, and this one works: it's a fine graphic introduction to three legendary figures from the wild west. Watch as Bob Lemmons uses his horse sense to bring in a herd of wild mustangs. Come along with Deputy US Marshall Bass Reeves as he surprises a pair of outlaws. And, learn why no one dared mess with Stagecoach Mary. I'm hoping Smith is planning to make this a series. I'd love to meet more of this country's neglected heroes. Yep - it's another one of those "we make learnin' fun" books, and this one works: it's a fine graphic introduction to three legendary figures from the wild west. Watch as Bob Lemmons uses his horse sense to bring in a herd of wild mustangs. Come along with Deputy US Marshall Bass Reeves as he surprises a pair of outlaws. And, learn why no one dared mess with Stagecoach Mary. I'm hoping Smith is planning to make this a series. I'd love to meet more of this country's neglected heroes.

  3. 5 out of 5

    Nostalgia Reader

    Western history has always fascinated me, but it has always struck me how difficult it is to find books (fiction or nonfiction) about minorities of any sort, especially black people, who lived in the Western frontier. This provides a great, if short, introduction to three black pioneers who went West and made a name for themselves delivering mail and building missions, hunting fugitives, and herding wild horses. I had heard about Mary Fields briefly before from a friend, but I still learned some Western history has always fascinated me, but it has always struck me how difficult it is to find books (fiction or nonfiction) about minorities of any sort, especially black people, who lived in the Western frontier. This provides a great, if short, introduction to three black pioneers who went West and made a name for themselves delivering mail and building missions, hunting fugitives, and herding wild horses. I had heard about Mary Fields briefly before from a friend, but I still learned some more facts about her from this books. Bob Lemmon and Bass Reeves I had never heard of before though, so this was a very enlightening introduction to them! There is also a brief historical section in the back with some great pictures. This was much shorter than I expected it to be and I feel like the content of each biography could have gone deeper or wider, whether in the story telling, the historical, or both. Smith blends the historical facts with a vignette about each person’s life very smoothly and creates a very engaging setting, so I would love to have been able to read more! Despite the short length, this is an excellent jumping off point for readers to learn that not all Wild West history is white, and that blacks played a vital role in helping to shape the new frontier. Thank you to NetGalley for providing me with a free copy to review! (Cross posted on my blog.)

  4. 5 out of 5

    Laura

    There is so much history that is taught to us in school, that bypasses the minorities, and the women, and focuses on the White people. You may have heard the term of Buffalo Soldier from the song but you may not know the history of how Black men and women moved to the American West before and after the Civil War to live their lives. This book covers three Black people that if you have never heard of them, you will wonder why. One, Bass Reeves, the first Black marshal west of the Mississippi, is t There is so much history that is taught to us in school, that bypasses the minorities, and the women, and focuses on the White people. You may have heard the term of Buffalo Soldier from the song but you may not know the history of how Black men and women moved to the American West before and after the Civil War to live their lives. This book covers three Black people that if you have never heard of them, you will wonder why. One, Bass Reeves, the first Black marshal west of the Mississippi, is thought to be the inspiration for the Lone Ranger. Bob Lemmons, was a famous horse wrangler, and Mary Fields was one of two women, and the only Black woman, to drive the mail coach to deliver mail out in the west. Done in graphic novel style first, then followed with further background second, this is an amazing book to learn more about the Black people and their existence in the wild west. Thanks to Netgalley for making this book available for an honest review.

  5. 4 out of 5

    Ms. Yingling

    E ARC provided by Edelweiss Plus In this graphic novel, we get stories of three Black Americans who were involved in the history of the West in the late 1800s. While Bass Reeves, a Deputy U.S. marshall, has had several books written about him (including Paulsen's 2006 The Legend of Bass Reeves: Being the True and Fictional Account of the Most Valiant Marshal in the West, readers might not have met horse trainer Bob Lemmons or stage coach driver Mary Fields. This graphic novel offers brief overvie E ARC provided by Edelweiss Plus In this graphic novel, we get stories of three Black Americans who were involved in the history of the West in the late 1800s. While Bass Reeves, a Deputy U.S. marshall, has had several books written about him (including Paulsen's 2006 The Legend of Bass Reeves: Being the True and Fictional Account of the Most Valiant Marshal in the West, readers might not have met horse trainer Bob Lemmons or stage coach driver Mary Fields. This graphic novel offers brief overviews of their lives and careers, with the longest and most interesting being about Fields and her many careers and unique lifestyle for a woman at the time. Reeves is fascinating, but just the highlights of his career are addressed, and Lemmons has a very short entry. The graphics are nicely done, and the text to picture ratio is a comfortable one that will please my students. The book is not large (7.8" x 10"), but a little larger than Nathan Hale's Hazardous Tales (5.5 x 7.5"); Black Heroes definitely will appeal to the demographics of Hale's books. I very much appreciated the photographs,notes, and timelines at the end of the book. Strengths: This is a great starting point for learning about the Wild West. There are explanations about why this period of history is troublesome, and the three short biographies will hopefully encourage readers to go on to research more about related Black history, such as Black cowboys, the Buffalo Soldiers, etc. It's also just a fun graphic novel to read. I really liked the content at the end of the book and wish that more of it had been included, or that the pictures had been a bit larger. Weaknesses: This is very short; I wish one more biography had been included. Nat Love already has some books about him, but perhaps Bill Pickett or Cathay Williams? What I really think: This is an excellent starting point, and I hope that we start to see more biographies of Black Americans who have been previously ignored. I'd love a longer book about Mary Fields instead of yet another book about Rosa Parks or Harriet Tubman.

  6. 5 out of 5

    Regina Kaur

    -I received this book from NetGalley in exchange of an honest review.- I’ll admit, this book has been on my NetGalley shelf for a few weeks now. I’ve either had a reading slump or I was simply reading other books. This book is exactly what the title suggests, Black heroes of the Wild West. As a teacher, I know many topics, people, and events get swept under the rug for *insert reason.* So, it makes sense why authors like James Otis Smith would write a book depicting Black heroes. It’s also timely -I received this book from NetGalley in exchange of an honest review.- I’ll admit, this book has been on my NetGalley shelf for a few weeks now. I’ve either had a reading slump or I was simply reading other books. This book is exactly what the title suggests, Black heroes of the Wild West. As a teacher, I know many topics, people, and events get swept under the rug for *insert reason.* So, it makes sense why authors like James Otis Smith would write a book depicting Black heroes. It’s also timely during the Black Lives Matter movement. I read this book in one sitting, less than 15 minutes, to be exact. Oftentimes, we get stuck telling the “black people were slaves who eventually gained freedom” narrative. This book offers more. Smith offers specific people in specific times and shares their story. I’ll be honest, I haven’t heard of the people named in this story. Rest assured, I’ll be telling students about these people. In fact, I’ll be sharing this book with my students. You’re probably wondering why I gave this book four stars rather than five? Well, I wish the book offered... more about the people depicted. Each historical person had at least 7-8 pages. It’s like... a cake is being baked in your kitchen by someone. You’re smelling it. Going dizzy with how scrumptious and inviting it looks and smells. Guess what! You found out that you can only have a teeny tiny piece. Smith kept the book simple enough and provided historical context in the book ends. However, he could have offered more details in the graphic novel portion.

  7. 5 out of 5

    Wayne McCoy

    'Black Heroes of the Wild West' by James Otis Smith is a graphic novel featuring three folks who made their mark in the old West. First up is Stagecoach Mary who played cards and smoked cigars and made all her deliveries as well as looking out for those people around her. Bass Reeves, goes undercover to capture some criminals before revealing he's a US Marshal. Bob Lemmons was good at catching and taming horses through patience and observation. History is great and it's nice to see the people in 'Black Heroes of the Wild West' by James Otis Smith is a graphic novel featuring three folks who made their mark in the old West. First up is Stagecoach Mary who played cards and smoked cigars and made all her deliveries as well as looking out for those people around her. Bass Reeves, goes undercover to capture some criminals before revealing he's a US Marshal. Bob Lemmons was good at catching and taming horses through patience and observation. History is great and it's nice to see the people in this book remembered. There is more history in the back for those who want to learn a bit more. The art is great and these would be great stories for classroom learning or just for kids who like reading about larger than life people. I received a review copy of this graphic novel from Myrick Marketing & Media, LLC and NetGalley in exchange for an honest review. Thank you for allowing me to review this graphic novel.

  8. 5 out of 5

    jess

    [netgalley arc] this was a great, short visual introduction to a few notable black figures in the american frontier in the postwar era. i enjoyed getting to see their lives imagined and illustrated in full color, and it’s also cool that we have enough documentation of at least three of what was many, many black workers and cowboys in the american west during this era to be able to represent them in such detail. i also appreciated all the research and primary source images that went into the histo [netgalley arc] this was a great, short visual introduction to a few notable black figures in the american frontier in the postwar era. i enjoyed getting to see their lives imagined and illustrated in full color, and it’s also cool that we have enough documentation of at least three of what was many, many black workers and cowboys in the american west during this era to be able to represent them in such detail. i also appreciated all the research and primary source images that went into the historical endnote, but i can’t help but think that that would also be more effectively communicated with the paragraphs broken up and illustrated in comics form. there’s such an abundance of visual material on black, native, and chicano cowboys that i imagine an expansion of this project would also be very cool to read.

  9. 4 out of 5

    Beth

    This graphic novel had a good choice of fascinating characters. Unfortunately, some of the text was good while much of it was lackluster. The art was so-so, with little expression on the characters' faces, some unnecessary busyness, and not very well laid out.

  10. 4 out of 5

    Meepelous

    NOTE: This ARC was given to me for free via Netgalley in exchange for an honest opinion. As I already mentioned in my latest Black Comics TBR I could tell immediately that this was going to remind me of the Strange Fruit series by Joel Christian Gill, which also does short stories for a more all age audience about lesser known Black figures in American history. This book was definitely more focused on a singular type of story, namely the "wild west" and cowboys. There was also a lot more photogra NOTE: This ARC was given to me for free via Netgalley in exchange for an honest opinion. As I already mentioned in my latest Black Comics TBR I could tell immediately that this was going to remind me of the Strange Fruit series by Joel Christian Gill, which also does short stories for a more all age audience about lesser known Black figures in American history. This book was definitely more focused on a singular type of story, namely the "wild west" and cowboys. There was also a lot more photographs of Black people in the west, before and after the illustrated comics, which I thought was a nice addition. The art was good, but not super memorable. I assume the Toon series has some constraints on how they want each book to look. The one thing that felt a bit different from some other all ages books was the inclusion of quite a few silent scene setting shots. Which was nice. As far as gender went, I really appreciated that of the three stories included we got Stagecoach Mary, as the first volume of Strange Fruit and many narratives of the west revolve around assumed Male people. Sexuality was not a focus of the book, even heterosexuality, which was was nice. Race was obviously a focus of the book, namely the history of Black people in the west. As a white settler person on Turtle Island I am certainly not the be all end all to be talking about this particular intersection, but I did try to note the way that Indigenous people were represented. Passively was the word that came most to mind through most of the book, although it did feel like the side characters that came up were depicted in a respectful way that didn't flirt with caricature - which certainly is not always the case. That said, the text and photographs section at the very end did dig into more detail about how the "wild west" was actively destroying Indigenous life in the west. So, as I said, I can't approve this book or not, but it seemed pretty good. Left me hungry for an adult take on the ways Blackness and Indigeneity have intersected and do intersect. Assuming books continue to be published, it'll happen eventually. I didn't really notice any disability representation. Everyone seemed pretty able bodied.

  11. 4 out of 5

    Susan

    In this nonfiction graphic book, there are three unknown Black heroes of the west are discussed. Mary Fields was better known as Stagecoach Mary. She held many different jobs. She knew how to survive in the Wild West. She was a “cigar-chomping” driver who always delivered. Bass Reeves was the first Black deputy US marshal. He was smart and clever catching several outlaws. The third person discusses was Bob Lemmons. He was successful as a wrangler of wild mustangs. He had a special way catching m In this nonfiction graphic book, there are three unknown Black heroes of the west are discussed. Mary Fields was better known as Stagecoach Mary. She held many different jobs. She knew how to survive in the Wild West. She was a “cigar-chomping” driver who always delivered. Bass Reeves was the first Black deputy US marshal. He was smart and clever catching several outlaws. The third person discusses was Bob Lemmons. He was successful as a wrangler of wild mustangs. He had a special way catching mustangs. There is an introduction to Black people that were in the Wild West. One-third of the cowboys were black driving cattle trails and riding in rodeos. Cowboys were usually poor and only owned their horse. The author has included photographs, There is a timeline given from 1609 to 1950. There is at the end of this book information given on Black Buffalo soldiers, Black Native Americans and Black American alliances. There is information on Black vaqueros and Black homesteaders. Ther is a list. Of resources for further reading. I enjoyed reading the three people that were Black heroes of the Wild West. It’s a part of history that I didn’t know and found it to be quite interesting. Disclaimer: I received an arc of this book from the author/publisher from Netgalley. I wasn’t obligated to write a favorable review or any review at all. The opinions expressed are strictly my own.

  12. 5 out of 5

    Pam

    Graphic Non-Fiction I received an electronic ARC from Myrick Marketing & Media, LLC through NetGalley. Readers meet three legends from the frontier - Mary Fields, Bass Reeves, Bob Lemmons. Each faced trials based on their environment and their skin color. Their stories are told in graphic style with realistic and detailed illustrations. Smith provides informative text before and after that offers readers the chance to learn more about history. Middle grade readers will appreciate the easy to follo Graphic Non-Fiction I received an electronic ARC from Myrick Marketing & Media, LLC through NetGalley. Readers meet three legends from the frontier - Mary Fields, Bass Reeves, Bob Lemmons. Each faced trials based on their environment and their skin color. Their stories are told in graphic style with realistic and detailed illustrations. Smith provides informative text before and after that offers readers the chance to learn more about history. Middle grade readers will appreciate the easy to follow biographies and can explore further with the information and references included.

  13. 5 out of 5

    Clare O'Beara

    I like especially that Stagecoach Mary, surely one of the hardiest ladies in history, is featured in the graphic novel. The other heroes are a marshal and a wild horse wrangler, showing the wide variety of jobs needed in pioneering days. I enjoyed the stories and I especially like the endpiece where we find original material, photos, newsprint, posters and so on, about the cowboys in general and those people featured in particular. I downloaded an e-ARC from Fresh Fiction. This is an unbiased re I like especially that Stagecoach Mary, surely one of the hardiest ladies in history, is featured in the graphic novel. The other heroes are a marshal and a wild horse wrangler, showing the wide variety of jobs needed in pioneering days. I enjoyed the stories and I especially like the endpiece where we find original material, photos, newsprint, posters and so on, about the cowboys in general and those people featured in particular. I downloaded an e-ARC from Fresh Fiction. This is an unbiased review.

  14. 5 out of 5

    Lara Goldstein

    I grew up on Westerns (books, film, and TV) and only as an adult did I consider how white-washed most were. Native Americans fell neatly into a handful of stereotypes and Black characters rarely seemed to feature at all. It was deeply refreshing to read this graphic novel and to get a better picture of such a fascinating era. My main complaint is that the stories are so short, but this will be perfect for middle grade readers, especially since the age appropriate sources listed at the end of the I grew up on Westerns (books, film, and TV) and only as an adult did I consider how white-washed most were. Native Americans fell neatly into a handful of stereotypes and Black characters rarely seemed to feature at all. It was deeply refreshing to read this graphic novel and to get a better picture of such a fascinating era. My main complaint is that the stories are so short, but this will be perfect for middle grade readers, especially since the age appropriate sources listed at the end of the book will provide more options for avid readers.

  15. 4 out of 5

    Sharon Tyler

    Black Heroes of the Wild West: Featuring Stagecoach Mary, Bass Reeves, and Bob Lemmons by James Otis Smith is a nonfiction graphic novel currently scheduled for release on September 15 2020. This book celebrates the extraordinary true tales of three black heroes who took control of their destinies and stood up for their communities in the Old West. Born into slavery in Tennessee, Mary Fields became famous as “Stagecoach Mary,” a cigar-chomping, card playing coach driver who never missed a delive Black Heroes of the Wild West: Featuring Stagecoach Mary, Bass Reeves, and Bob Lemmons by James Otis Smith is a nonfiction graphic novel currently scheduled for release on September 15 2020. This book celebrates the extraordinary true tales of three black heroes who took control of their destinies and stood up for their communities in the Old West. Born into slavery in Tennessee, Mary Fields became famous as “Stagecoach Mary,” a cigar-chomping, card playing coach driver who never missed a delivery. Bass Reeves, the first black Deputy US Marshal west of the Mississippi, was one of the wiliest lawmen in the territories, bringing thousands of outlaws to justice with his smarts. Bob Lemmons lived to be 99 years old and was so good with horses that the wild mustangs on the plains of Texas took him for one of their own. Black Heroes of the Wild West is a great start, or continuation, of learning the diverse history of he United States. Much of the history that includes people of color has been ignored or twisted, leaving us with an incomplete and sometimes very incorrect vision of what our past really looked like. I had read bits and pieces of the history included in this book before, but I found the information and artwork to be very well done and engaging for readers of all ages. It was inspiring to read about the odds these three people faced, and how they persevered and exceeded the expectations of those around them, particularly those that judged them based on race, gender, or both. I also liked the time line and further information about the history of cowboys and how people from a variety of heritages and cultures made a huge difference, and have been left out of much of the history we get taught in school and the most readily available texts. Black Heroes of the Wild West is a graphic novel that I highly recommend for public, school, and classroom libraries. It is very well done, and offers a look at real history that often gets ignored. I will be looking for more books like this for myself and my children.

  16. 5 out of 5

    Kim Tyo-Dickerson

    Digital Review Copy (DRC) provided by Edelweiss+ in exchange for an honest review. From the introduction by Kadir Nelson, winner of the 2020 Caldecott Award: “Black Heroes of the Wild West is a brilliant and entertaining offering. Through sharp and evocative storytelling in the exciting medium of comics, lesser-known African American historical figures will be introduced to new generations of readers.” Oh wow, do I love high-interest middle grade nonfiction that turns history on its head! Tween r Digital Review Copy (DRC) provided by Edelweiss+ in exchange for an honest review. From the introduction by Kadir Nelson, winner of the 2020 Caldecott Award: “Black Heroes of the Wild West is a brilliant and entertaining offering. Through sharp and evocative storytelling in the exciting medium of comics, lesser-known African American historical figures will be introduced to new generations of readers.” Oh wow, do I love high-interest middle grade nonfiction that turns history on its head! Tween readers will pick up author and illustrator James Otis Smith's graphic nonfiction title from Toon Books for the energetic comics treatment of Wild West characters Stagecoach Mary, Bass Reeves, and Bob Lemmons, and will relish the details about their most daring exploits. They will learn why Smith argues this is "not the Wild West of movies and TV" where the Lone Ranger, likely based on the legend of Bass Reeves who was Black, was nonetheless portrayed as a White man with an American Indian side-kick, and they will be able to focus on the period in United States history known as Reconstruction following the Civil War when free Blacks headed West to "decide their own fate" and create new lives away from slavery and segregationist policies. Readers will then be riveted by the accompanying nonfiction text, punctuated with high quality archival photos, and ideas for further reading following the short biographical sketches. As Smith argues in his video booktalk, "This is Black history, yes. But this is also American history. These legends belong to all of us." https://youtu.be/sXoLyl_n6hs There's also a fascinating page of author/illustrator information and teaching tools on the Toon Books site: https://www.toon-books.com/black-hero...

  17. 5 out of 5

    Stephanie Bange

    An excellent introduction to three Black Americans who made their mark in the Wild West of the 1800's. The lives of "Stagecoach" Mary Fields, Marshall Bass Reeves, and mustanger Bob Lemmons feature an event which they are renouned for doing. The book begins with an introduction by Kadir Nelson, who talks about the dearth of information for children about this segment of Black history, alongside captioned photos. Photographs of the subjects open their chapters, told in graphic novel format. Smith An excellent introduction to three Black Americans who made their mark in the Wild West of the 1800's. The lives of "Stagecoach" Mary Fields, Marshall Bass Reeves, and mustanger Bob Lemmons feature an event which they are renouned for doing. The book begins with an introduction by Kadir Nelson, who talks about the dearth of information for children about this segment of Black history, alongside captioned photos. Photographs of the subjects open their chapters, told in graphic novel format. Smith does a great job of balancing the text with content in the comic frames. The book closes with six pages of information and primary source materials about cowboys in the West. The focus is on Mexicans, mestizo, African Americans, and Native Americans. Topics include an origin of the cowboys, cattle drives and their relationship with the railroads, buffalo soldiers, invention of barbed wire, the relationship between Black Indians and Native Americans, African Americans on the frontier, Buffalo Bill and the myth of the Wild West, the Lone Ranger, Black women pioneers, and Bob Lemmons and Black homesteaders. A timeline of the three subjects is included with major events of the Wild West. A bibliography of books and websites is included. Recommended introduction to this niche of American History. For grades 4-8.

  18. 4 out of 5

    Barbara

    There's a great misconception no doubt fostered by history texts for school children that this nation was built by only white men. While it's true that many elected positions and positions of power were held by whites, there were black men and women who made important contributions and whose stories deserve to be told. In this graphic novel format, James Otis Smith tells the fascinating stories of three heroes: Mary Fields, Bass Reeves, and Bob Lemmons, all of whom cut a wide swath while living There's a great misconception no doubt fostered by history texts for school children that this nation was built by only white men. While it's true that many elected positions and positions of power were held by whites, there were black men and women who made important contributions and whose stories deserve to be told. In this graphic novel format, James Otis Smith tells the fascinating stories of three heroes: Mary Fields, Bass Reeves, and Bob Lemmons, all of whom cut a wide swath while living in the Wild West. All were legends in their time with Fields driving a stagecoach, Reeves rounding up outlaws, and Lemmons having a unique approach to rounding up wild mustangs. The colorful panels, accessible text, and archival photos featuring the subjects of this collection as well as others really bring history to life. I hope there will be more titles like this one forthcoming. Each story seems to capture the essence of these individuals and challenge assumptions about cowboys, the law, and the role of women in the West.

  19. 5 out of 5

    Beth Anne

    Thanks to NetGalley and the publisher for a free review copy. I read this as a Egalley because I couldn't wait any longer to check it out (pub date is 9/15/2020). Our family has loved various Toon Comics books over the years, and I'm always on the lookout for graphic novels that bring history to life. This book features three short biographies of blacks in the wild west time period. Both the introduction and the afterward contain photographs, additional information, a timeline, and further readin Thanks to NetGalley and the publisher for a free review copy. I read this as a Egalley because I couldn't wait any longer to check it out (pub date is 9/15/2020). Our family has loved various Toon Comics books over the years, and I'm always on the lookout for graphic novels that bring history to life. This book features three short biographies of blacks in the wild west time period. Both the introduction and the afterward contain photographs, additional information, a timeline, and further reading. The comics themselves were easy to read and enjoyable, but I do wish this book could have been longer! I think its a perfect introduction, especially for kids who struggle to engage with history, but I also think many books sell kids short and the engaging nature of this book lends itself to the ability to be longer. I hope we will see more books like this one from Toon comics in the future! And I can't wait to get my hands on a physical copy for my own kids.

  20. 5 out of 5

    Novels and Nummies

    5/5 ***Special thanks to NetGalley and Myrick Marketing & Media, LLC for providing me with a copy of this book in exchange for an honest review*** THIS BOOK IS AWESOME... full disclosure I LOVE history. I was amazed that this book was able to mesh the world of history and comic book format so well. The artwork in this book was very well done, although it was not the best, most detail specific artwork, it did not distract from the actual text in the story which I appreciated. I found this book so in 5/5 ***Special thanks to NetGalley and Myrick Marketing & Media, LLC for providing me with a copy of this book in exchange for an honest review*** THIS BOOK IS AWESOME... full disclosure I LOVE history. I was amazed that this book was able to mesh the world of history and comic book format so well. The artwork in this book was very well done, although it was not the best, most detail specific artwork, it did not distract from the actual text in the story which I appreciated. I found this book so interesting. The Wild West is so often thought of as a sort of white, heterosexual, hypermasculine, environment, but in reality, there were so many other aspects to it. I loved learning about some of the fascinating black people who played important/prominent roles in this time period. I would recommend this book to anyone, but would highly recommend that teachers encourage their students to read this book, especially the more reluctant readers.

  21. 4 out of 5

    Iris

    Inspiring stories of African-American cowboys in graphic format! One of my favorite books from last year was Fearless Mary, by Tami Charles, a picture book biography of Mary Fields, second female in US history to drive a sought-after stagecoach route. Smith's book reveals so much more about that intrepid soul and all of her other adventures, including the fact that the town of Cascade, Montana, would close the schools and celebrate her birthday once or twice a year! The chapters on Bass Reeves a Inspiring stories of African-American cowboys in graphic format! One of my favorite books from last year was Fearless Mary, by Tami Charles, a picture book biography of Mary Fields, second female in US history to drive a sought-after stagecoach route. Smith's book reveals so much more about that intrepid soul and all of her other adventures, including the fact that the town of Cascade, Montana, would close the schools and celebrate her birthday once or twice a year! The chapters on Bass Reeves and Bob Lemmons are no less awesome and entertaining. Smith focuses on Reeves's cunning capture of the notorious Clancy brothers in Chapter 2 and Bob Lemmons's amazing infiltration of wild mustang herds in Chapter 3. Cowboy and wild west lovers will devour this incredible book! Backmatter provides further excellent information.

  22. 5 out of 5

    Randi

    I received an advanced copy of Black Heroes of the Wild West from NetGalley so I could share my review with you! Black Heroes of the Wild West captures three extraordinary Western tales that never made it into the movies. Bass Reeves, the first black Deputy US Marshal west of the Mississippi, brought countless outlaws to justice over the years. Mary Fields, a woman born into slavery who became famous as “Stagecoach Mary,” both for her outstanding delivery record and her tough-as-nails personality I received an advanced copy of Black Heroes of the Wild West from NetGalley so I could share my review with you! Black Heroes of the Wild West captures three extraordinary Western tales that never made it into the movies. Bass Reeves, the first black Deputy US Marshal west of the Mississippi, brought countless outlaws to justice over the years. Mary Fields, a woman born into slavery who became famous as “Stagecoach Mary,” both for her outstanding delivery record and her tough-as-nails personality. Bob Lemmons, one of the most skilled horsemen to ever ride. Each of the heroes in this book carries themselves with strength and excellence, demonstrating the very best of the West! You can get your copy of Black Heroes of the Wild West on September 15th from TOON Graphics! In this book, James Otis Smith shares the important history of several individuals who have been systematically erased from the story of the Wild West. The graphic novel format allows for their stories to be shared in an accessible and easy-to-read way, making this book perfect for readers and history buffs of all ages! My favorite story was definitely that of Stagecoach Mary, because of her grit and power! My Recommendation- This graphic novel would be a great read for anyone who loves Westerns but hates how exclusionary they have become over time. If you have ever wished to know some true stories about Black heroes living in the Wild West, you need to pick up this book!

  23. 4 out of 5

    Elizabeth

    Black Heroes of the Wild West is a fascinating, fun, and accessible book that tells the stories of Mary Fields, Bass Reeves, and Bob Lemmons. Using an easy-to-follow comics style with solid illustrations, the book will appeal to even reluctant readers. The stories are important ones that give us a glimpse into the real lives of Black people in the Old West, a viewpoint that is sorely underrepresented elsewhere. While I was personally familiar with two out of three subjects (I had not previously Black Heroes of the Wild West is a fascinating, fun, and accessible book that tells the stories of Mary Fields, Bass Reeves, and Bob Lemmons. Using an easy-to-follow comics style with solid illustrations, the book will appeal to even reluctant readers. The stories are important ones that give us a glimpse into the real lives of Black people in the Old West, a viewpoint that is sorely underrepresented elsewhere. While I was personally familiar with two out of three subjects (I had not previously read about Bob Lemmons), I suspect many readers will be learning of all three for the first time, and it serves as a great introduction. I was definitely surprised by some of what I learned regardless of what I knew beforehand. The introduction and the endnotes add some great context and some fascinating extra information, as do some of the real photographs that were included. Recommended!

  24. 4 out of 5

    Paul Decker

    *I received this book as an eARC from TOON Graphics via NetGalley. I voluntarily read and reviewed an advanced copy of this book. All thoughts and opinions are my own.* I love learning stories that should be more well known. I hope young people today have access to stories like this so they can both see representation and the true diversity of history. I wish I had learned about these people earlier in my life. This graphic novel features Mary Fields, Bass Reeves, and Bob Lemmons. Their stories a *I received this book as an eARC from TOON Graphics via NetGalley. I voluntarily read and reviewed an advanced copy of this book. All thoughts and opinions are my own.* I love learning stories that should be more well known. I hope young people today have access to stories like this so they can both see representation and the true diversity of history. I wish I had learned about these people earlier in my life. This graphic novel features Mary Fields, Bass Reeves, and Bob Lemmons. Their stories are told with the context of the time given. There's also an excellent introduction and additional information at the end about more of the history of the Wild West. I give this book a 5/5. Everyone needs to learn the stories of these Black Heroes.

  25. 4 out of 5

    Bunny

    Received via Netgalley in exchange for a fair and unbiased review. I am FURIOUS at how short this is. There's only 3 stories, plus loads of awesome historical bits and bobs, and wonderful black and white photos from the days of the wild west. The three stories are AMAZING. The author knew what he was doing when he made the first one about a woman. Stagecoach Mary is a QUEEN among women, and exactly who I would want to be if I lived during that time. Then the second, which I can't talk about witho Received via Netgalley in exchange for a fair and unbiased review. I am FURIOUS at how short this is. There's only 3 stories, plus loads of awesome historical bits and bobs, and wonderful black and white photos from the days of the wild west. The three stories are AMAZING. The author knew what he was doing when he made the first one about a woman. Stagecoach Mary is a QUEEN among women, and exactly who I would want to be if I lived during that time. Then the second, which I can't talk about without absolutely spoiling it, and the third story, about someone who learned the real trick to catching wild horses. Seriously, I loved these dang stories so much AND IT'S NOT FAIR THAT THIS IS SO SHORT. Mad forever.

  26. 5 out of 5

    Stacie

    This book was so fun and so educational. The author sets out to describe the diversity that existed in America’s history. The art work and historical photos was great. It was easy to read yet was packed with information. I feel like I sat through a history class. I first heard about this through Brenna on the What Should I Read Next podcast/Patreon group. I am so glad she recommended this. I will be handing this off to my children to read and have passed it and the wonderful book list at the end This book was so fun and so educational. The author sets out to describe the diversity that existed in America’s history. The art work and historical photos was great. It was easy to read yet was packed with information. I feel like I sat through a history class. I first heard about this through Brenna on the What Should I Read Next podcast/Patreon group. I am so glad she recommended this. I will be handing this off to my children to read and have passed it and the wonderful book list at the end to a teacher friend. Thank you to Netgalley and Myrick Marketing/TOON Graphics for this free copy in exchange for my honest review.

  27. 4 out of 5

    Libby

    Growing up in Colorado, I knew about Black cowboys, but I wasn't familiar with the three Smith highlights in this graphic history. My favorite was the story he share about Bass Reeves. The added historical information in the end is well presented. I like that he emphasizes not only Black contributions but also mentions other people of color who are often underrepresented in western history. A book kids will pick up for fun as well as for curriculum support. Review based on an ARC received through Growing up in Colorado, I knew about Black cowboys, but I wasn't familiar with the three Smith highlights in this graphic history. My favorite was the story he share about Bass Reeves. The added historical information in the end is well presented. I like that he emphasizes not only Black contributions but also mentions other people of color who are often underrepresented in western history. A book kids will pick up for fun as well as for curriculum support. Review based on an ARC received through NetGalley.

  28. 5 out of 5

    Madi ~☆TheBookNerdDiaries☆~

    I received an ARC of this book from the publisher via NetGalley and this has in no way affected my review. While this book wasn't a favorite of mine, I really value that the author and publisher took on this story. This comic addresses three Black heroes around the time that the Wild West was big. It's so important to see outside of the curated white history that we often see in the United States and to hear Black stories from those time periods in which the often seem to be erased.

  29. 5 out of 5

    Laura Applebee

    Received an ARC from Netgalley. I loved this book! Bass Reeves is a favourite of mine but I had no idea about Mary Fields or Bob Lemmons. I enjoyed the cartoonish realism of the art. Colouring was great. I wanted more content-wise. The reader got a little bit of Mary Fields early years but not much about Bob Lemmons' or Bass Reeves' early years. The book comes out in Sept 2020 and I'm looking forward to owning it.

  30. 5 out of 5

    Smote

    Absolutely LOVED this comic and really hope there are more in the future! This would be a great introduction for younger kids but is also a very beautiful short retelling for anyone older or anyone who isn't aware of these amazing historical figures. The art is beautiful and the added information at the end about native American, Mexican, and black Indian figures is wonderful. Definitely worth a purchase for your library or personal collections as well!

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