John Henry by Julius LesterJohn Henry by Julius Lester

John Henry

byJulius LesterIllustratorJerry Pinkney

Paperback | December 1, 1999

Pricing and Purchase Info

$9.79 online 
$11.99 list price save 18%
Earn 49 plum® points

Prices and offers may vary in store


In stock online

Ships free on orders over $25

Available in stores


Julius Lester and Jerry Pinkney's warm, humorous retelling of a popular African-American folk ballad.

When John Henry was born the birds, bears, rabbits, and even a unicorn came to see him. He grew so fast, he burst right through the porch roof, and laughed so loud, he scared the sun! Soon John Henry is swinging two huge sledgehammers to build roads, pulverizing boulders, and smashing rocks to smithereens. He's stronger than ten men and can dig through a mountain faster than a steam drill. Nothing can stop John Henry, and his courage stays with us forever.

A Caldecott Honor Book

* "This is a tall tale and heroic myth, a celebration of the human spirit . . . The story is told with rhythm and wit, humor and exageration, and with a heart-catching immediacy that connects the human and the natural world. " --Booklist, starred review

"Another winning collaboration from the master storyteller and gifted artist of Tales of Uncle Remus fame." --School Library Journal

"A great American hero comes fully to life in this epic retelling filled with glorious, detailed watercolors . . .  This carefully crafted updating begs to be read aloud for its rich, rhythmic storytelling flow, and the suitably oversize illustrations amplify the text." --Publishers Weekly
Julius Lester is a celebrated author whose accolades include a Newbery Honor and a Coretta Scott King Award. He is also a National Book Award Finalist, a National Book Critics Circle nominee, and a recipient of the Boston Globe-Horn Book Award. In addition to his critically acclaimed writing career, Mr. Lester has distinguished himself...
Title:John HenryFormat:PaperbackDimensions:40 pages, 11.5 × 9.56 × 0.13 inPublished:December 1, 1999Publisher:Penguin Young Readers GroupLanguage:English

The following ISBNs are associated with this title:

ISBN - 10:0140566228

ISBN - 13:9780140566222

Appropriate for ages: 3 - 5


From Our Editors

In this 1995 Caldecott Honour winner, a strong, young black man astounds onlookers as he boldly digs through layers of rock and mud while working on the railroad. More than just admirers of his physical strength, all of the men and women who witness his feat are mesmerized by his determination and spirit in John Henry, a tale based on a real life African-American labourer. Julius Lester has won multiple awards for such literary works as To Be a Slave and Long Journey Home: Stories from Black History.