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Home > CCF Top Picks                           Share this article with others!
Life Is So Good
by staff writer, June 22, 2006
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We have loved reading and re-reading Life Is So Good and have received letters from those we've recommended it to saying they also loved it. Life Is So Good is a "must-read" for kids of all ages. It's hope-filled yet reality based. George Dawson, the author, is an inspiration to us. He learned to read when he was 98 years old and wrote the book when he was 103 years old. And the life lessons he shares in his book are priceless for they've been tried in the crucible of life and found to stand the test of trials and time. Read the book and share it with students and friends you know. This is a CCF Top Pick!

Book Description
In this remarkable book, 103-year-old George Dawson, a slave's grandson who learned to read at age 98, reflects on his life and offers valuable lessons in living as well as a fresh, firsthand view of America during the twentieth century. Richard Glaubman captures Dawson's irresistible voice and view of the world, offering insights into humanity, history, hardships, and happiness. From segregation and civil rights, to the wars, presidents, and defining moments in history, George Dawson's description and assessment of the last century inspires readers with the message that-through it all-has sustained him: "Life is so good. I do believe it's getting better."

Download Description
George Dawson was born the grandson of a slave in Marshall, Texas, on January 18, 1898. His four brothers and sisters attended a school for black children, but George, the oldest, had to go to work to help the family make ends meet. He was just eight years old when he first left home to live at and work as a farm hand on a white family's farm. But from his warm and loving parents Dawson inherited a positive life philosophy, based on focusing on how much they had rather than how little, and on wise observance of others, and common sense.

Richard Glaubman captures Dawson's personality, philosophy, voice and amazing life story, from his early years in Marshall -- his jobs as farmhand and sawmill worker, to his attraction to a white girl which he handled to protect them both, to his departure at 21, when he said goodbye to his family, and hopped a train to find his way in Memphis. Throughout this story, Life Is So Good captures Dawson's techniques for survival, and the history of the nation, as seen through Dawson's eyes -- segregation and race relations in the South, the First World War, the invention of the automobile and the airplane, the desegregation of baseball, and more.

Dawson worked many jobs in his 101 years, including laying railroad ties. He was married twice, widowed twice, and raised seven children. At 98, long after he retired, a local teacher offered to teach him to read, and he realized he was tired of making an "X" for his signature, he wanted to be able to read the Bible and the newspaper. After learning his alphabet in half a day, Dawson has learned to read, print and write.

Throughout his story, Dawson repeats the message that has sustained a happy life, thathis father passed on to him at an early age: "life is good. I do believe it's getting better." So good, also, are his ways of being and being happy, his wisdom and knowledge about survival, joy, people, and life.

Inside Flap Copy
image of Life Is So Good book coverWhat makes a happy person, a happy life? In this remarkable book, George Dawson, a 101-year-old man who learned to read when he was 98, reflects on the philosophy he learned from his father--a belief that "life is so good"--as he offers valuable lessons in living and a fresh, firsthand view of America during the twentieth century.

Born in 1898 in Marshall, Texas, the grandson of slaves, George Dawson tells how his father, despite hardships, always believed in seeing the richness in life and trained his children to do the same. As a boy, George had to go to work to help support the family, and so he did not attend school or learn to read; yet he describes how he learned to read the world and survive in it. "We make our own way," he says. "Trouble is out there, but a person can leave it alone and just do the right thing. Then, if trouble still finds you, you've done the best you can."

At ninety-eight, George decided to learn to read and enrolled in a literacy program, becoming a celebrated student. "Every morning I get up and I wonder what I might learn that day. You just never know."

In Life Is So Good, he shares wisdom on everything from parenting ("With children, you got to raise them. Some parents these days are growing children, not raising them") to attitude ("People worry too much. Life is good, just the way it is").

Richard Glaubman captures George Dawson's irresistible voice and view of the world, offering insights into humanity, history, and America?eyewitness impressions of segregation, changes in human relations, the wars and the presidents, inventions such as the car and the airplane, and much, much more. And throughout his story, George Dawson inspires the reader with the message that sustained him happily for more than a century: "Life is so good. I do believe it's getting better."


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