USS Constellation: Pride of the American Navy

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Holiday House, 2004 - Juvenile Nonfiction - 86 pages
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Myers relates the illustrious history of our nation's last all-sail warship. He describes her original construction and launch in 1797 and early victories against the French frigate Insurgente and Barbary Coast pirates. He then details the mid-18th-century "repair" that transformed the ship into the "second" Constellation, a vessel that roamed the Atlantic to interdict the slave trade, saw Civil War action, and was finally used for training officers. The author also explains how the Constellation was operated and how its sailors were trained, and sums up the various rebuilding efforts that culminated in restoring her to her 1854 condition and her 1999 return to Baltimore Harbor. He includes many lengthy primary-source quotes, such as an account of the Constellation's 1860 encounter with a slave vessel and the specific instructions for sailors who handled gunpowder. There are numerous period illustrations and photos of the vessel and those who served on her as well as an extensive bibliography with primary and secondary sources and Web sites.

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About the author (2004)

Walter Dean Myers was born on August 12, 1937 in Martinsberg, West Virginia. When he was three years old, his mother died and his father sent him to live with Herbert and Florence Dean in Harlem, New York. He began writing stories while in his teens. He dropped out of high school and enlisted in the Army at the age of 17. After completing his army service, he took a construction job and continued to write. He entered and won a 1969 contest sponsored by the Council on Interracial Books for Children, which led to the publication of his first book, Where Does the Day Go? During his lifetime, he wrote more than 100 fiction and nonfiction books for children and young adults. His works include Fallen Angels, Bad Boy, Darius and Twig, Scorpions, Lockdown, Sunrise Over Fallujah, Invasion, Juba!, and On a Clear Day. He also collaborated with his son Christopher, an artist, on a number of picture books for young readers including We Are America: A Tribute from the Heart and Harlem, which received a Caldecott Honor Award, as well as the teen novel Autobiography of My Dead Brother. He was the winner of the first-ever Michael L. Printz Award for Monster, the first recipient of the Coretta Scott King-Virginia Hamilton Award for Lifetime Achievement, and a recipient of the Margaret A. Edwards Award for lifetime achievement in writing for young adults. He also won the Coretta Scott King Award for African American authors five times. He died on July 1, 2014, following a brief illness, at the age of 76.

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