Ross Malone is the author of many books about life in Missouri – past and present. This is his fourth book for young readers from ten- to fourteen-years-old. It is a work of historical fiction about the life of a real boy, Tobias, who found that some days brought a fight just to stay alive. Other days brought opportunities and unexpected kindness.
Tobias and the Governor also gives us a look at Herbert S. Hadley, the Governor whose family occupied the Governor’s Mansion in Jefferson City while Tobias lived in the barn. In the book we learn of the real-life heroine, Cathay Williams, a former slave who survived the transition to freedom and then joined the Army to become a Buffalo Soldier known as William Cathy. Tobias meets and is influenced by Scott Joplin and other colorful characters from Missouri’s past who move in and out of Tobias’ life as he tries to determine what his future will be.
Today, Tobias is depicted in bronze in “The Children’s Fountain” and the guides at the Governor’s Mansion tell students and visitors about the boy who was found living in the barn at the Mansion. Back in the early 1900s life didn’t seem so wonderful and picturesque as the fountain now makes it appear. Life was tough but so was Tobias!
This is the heartwarming story of surviving and thriving in the promise of an America which was rediscovering its identity and learning its potential – much like Tobias, the boy who went from the Governor’s barn to the Governor’s heart.
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