Oscar’s Gift: Planting Words with Oscar Micheaux
Fiction for Young Historians Ages 8-12 (and up)
“Oscar’s Gift is a fine and much recommended pick for community library youth fiction collections.” ~ Midwest Book Review
“Lisa Rivero, a native of the Rosebud country, expertly weaves fact with fiction in Oscar’s Gift.” ~ South Dakota Magazine
Description: The year is 1904 on the Rosebud Lakota Reservation, and eleven-year-old Tomas, the son of Swedish immigrants, thinks that life is a game of chance. Now you see it. Now you don’t. His father. School. Dreams for the future. It doesn’t matter how hard he tries or how much he hopes. In the end, everything he loves can disappear with the delivery of a telegram.
Then one hot day, on a dusty street in Bonesteel, South Dakota, he sees a tall, dark, city-slicker of a man as they both are trying their luck in a land lottery. Tomas does not know that he has just met the man who will one day write novels about his homesteading life on the Great Plains and be known as America’s first African-American feature film maker. Oscar will also become his friend and mentor.
Could it be that Tomas’s luck is changing?
Oscar’s Gift brings the rich diversity of history to modern young readers with a classic style and illustrative historical photographs (digital version only). The author’s young adult book Smart Teens’ Guide to Living with Intensity was a 2010 National Indie Excellence Award finalist and named by the Arizona Book Publishing Association as a 2011 Glyph Award Winner for both Best Juvenile/Young Adult—Nonfiction Book and Best Psychology/Self-Help Book. She is a member of the Society of Children’s Book Writers & Illustrators.
Review by Jerry Wilske, Director of the Oscar Micheaux Center
Lisa Rivero’s historical fictional account of the life of Oscar Micheaux told through the words of the young main character, Tomas, is captivating and imaginative from beginning to end. This is the first novel ever written about Micheaux for the young person. I am particularly grateful to Ms. Rivero for her book, which I will promote in my presentations on Oscar Micheaux.
Micheaux is a historic figure in the early filmmaking world as well as an early settler in south central South Dakota, 1905-1913, a successful farmer and a novelist. He along with Laura Ingalls-Wilder have written accurate accounts of homesteading experiences in South Dakota.
This book will interest the young reader to further explore the life and achievements of a determined race educator whose goal was to portray through his books and films the equality, talent and intelligence of fellow African Americans to themselves and to the White populations in the U.S., South America and Europe where his films were seen.
Lisa Rivero’s book is a definite must-read and a great introduction to Oscar Micheaux.
~ Jerry Wilske, Director of the Oscar Micheaux Film and Book Festival and The Oscar Micheaux Center and Star Walk of Fame Park