I found a marvelous book when working my way through the 900s section at the public library, cleaning it up (and I know as soon as I am done, if I were to start over again, it’d be a big mess again). The Riches of Oseola McCarty by Evelyn Coleman tells the story of a black washerwoman from Mississippi who lived a quiet, uneventful life, until she was 87 years old and donated $150,000 to the University of Southern Mississippi for scholarships for needy students. I remember hearing the story at the time and marvel at her generosity.
The thing is, it’s a great story for children in a number of ways. It’s not only her generosity (Ted Turner reported that he was so touched by it that it inspired him to give one billion dollars to the United Nations), but her frugality (she never took money out of the bank once she put it in), and her simple life. But most of all, it’s the lesson that it doesn’t matter what we do in life if we do our best at whatever we choose to do.
Miss McCarty died in 1999, and this book was published in 1998 so it doesn’t reflect that. It reminds me of the question in this video, “What is your sentence?” I think this would begin a great conversation with kids about biography.