Author: Julius Lester
Illustrator: Jerry Pinkney
Awards: ALA Notable Book (1994), Caldecott Honor (1995),
Topics: tall tales, African American, folk hero
Summary: Explore the life of John Henry, an African-American folk hero.
- John Henry from Wikipedia
- American Roots Music - Folk Songs and Ballads
- John Henry: Present at the Creation from NPR
Listen to different versions of the ballad.
- John Henry: The Steel Driving Man
- WV Music and Literature - John Henry
- John Cephas Blue Musician
Listent to the John Henry ballad.
- 42explore: Tall Tales
- American Folklore: Tall Tales
- Tall tales from Wikipedia
- Tall Tales, Whoppers, and Lies
Listen to the stories using the links in the lower left side of the page.
Online Tall Tales
- Mural. Create a mural of the United States and locate different tall tales. For instance, Swamp Angel is set in Tennessee. Draw the characters from each region.
- Tall Tales. Read other tall tales online. How is a tall tale like and unlike other stories? How was the story exaggerated?
- Compare Tales. How does this tall tale compare to other tall tales. Read Paul Bunyan, Swamp Angel, Johnny Appleseed or other tall tales.
- African American Tale. Many tall tales are about white men. How is this tale different? Does the race of John Henry impact the story? How?
- John Henry: The Sequel. Write another story about John Henry.
- Visualize John Henry. There are many paintings and sculptures of John Henry. Do a Google Images search for examples. Which do you think best represents John Henry? Also, check out examples: 1, 2.
- Write a Whopper. Some people call tall tales "whoppers." Write a whopper.
- Adaptations of Minority Legends: A Look at a Retelling of "John Henry"
- Appalachian Tall Tales / African American Tales: John Henry
- Education World: 10 Characters from American folklore
- John Henry Unit
- Tall Tales and Jack Tales
- Internet Workshop for John Henry
Do a Thinkfinity search for lessons related to this book.