Bad News for Outlaws: The Remarkable Life of Bass Reeves, Deputy U.S. Marshal

Bad News for Outlaws: The Remarkable Life of Bass Reeves, Deputy U.S. Marshal is no ordinary picture book. This outstanding book, written by Vaunda Micheaux Nelson and illustrated by R. Gregory Christie, introduces readers to an unsung hero of the American West. Most people have probably never heard of Bass Reeves, but, after reading this book, his name will be impossible to forget.

Bass Reeves was a man of impeccable character who began his life as a slave. He eventually escaped to Indian Territory and became a Deputy U.S. Marshal. His job was to bring in criminals, and he was good at it. So good that some criminals turned themselves in as soon as they learned that Bass Reeves was looking for them. He avoided violence whenever possible, and he tried to convince many lawless men to change their ways and do right. Reeves’ character and sense of duty made him one of the best, most respected, and most feared U.S. Marshal’s in Indian Territory. His life, though hard, is one to be admired and emulated.

Bad News for Outlaws is an excellent book for teaching young readers about the American West and how the law was kept in the past. This is also a great book for Black History Month reading, especially for readers who want to learn about someone they’ve never studied before. Finally, this book can be used to emphasize the importance of good character and how being a good person can take one far in life.

Extensive material at the conclusion of the book–including a glossary of western words, a timeline of Bass Reeves’ life, suggestions for further reading, and more information about Indian Territory–make Bad News for Outlaws a fantastic book for research about the life of Bass Reeves and other U.S. Marshals in the Old West.


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