Bass Reeves was born a slave circa 1838 in Texas; however he ran away from his master during the Civil War. He then lived with Native Americans in Indian Territory (what is now Oklahoma) until the war was over. Following the war, he established himself in neighboring Arkansas. In 1875 the U.S. government sent Judge Isaac C. Parker to Indian Territory. His job was to bring law and order to the area, and he was directed to hire 200 deputy marshals; one of those was Reeves. During his 32-year tenure as a marshal, Bass Reeves arrested thousands of outlaws and was reported to have captured the notorious Belle Starr!
I liked this book not only because of the time in history it details, but I feel that it is an exceptional read for children because it portrays a man of commendable character despite the many obstacles in his life. Author Nelson depicts Bass Reeves as a man of duty and courage who was honest, hardworking, and had a keen sense of right and wrong. Another feature about this book that I liked was the websites and additional reading resources that were listed at the end. Great for enhancing social studies instruction!
Overall, Bad News for Outlaws: The Remarkable Life of Bass Reeves, Deputy U.S. Marshal is an exciting and historical story that I highly recommend. Other books written by Vaunda Micheaux Nelson include Who Will I Be, Lord?, Possibles, Mayfield Crossing, and Beyond Mayfield.