Tag Archives: African-American History

“Smithsonian, Google Remember Rose Parks”

“Today marks the 55th anniversary of the Montgomery bus boycott and the rise of Rosa Parks into a place of national honor for refusing to give up her seat to a white passenger.” Read the article here.

Question to consider: In what ways do we see the civil rights movement continuing today?

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Zora and Me

Admitting personal bias: I think Zora Neale Hurston is extraordinary. Check out new “girl detective” novel by Victoria Bond and T.R Simon. Read New York Times article here

“Where is the black version of Caddie Woodlawn (a 19th-century Wisconsin tomboy) or Harriet the Spy (a 20th-century Upper East Sider), smart, spunky, fictional heroines for the tween crowd?  Tanya Simon, a literary agent, asked herself that question while pregnant with her daughter, now 4. She answered by reaching back in time to Zora Neale Hurston, a canonical Harlem Renaissance writer, and imagining her as a girl detective. Ms. Simon and her close friend Victoria Bond put flesh on that idea with “Zora and Me,” an evocative mystery published last month by Candlewick Press”

Thank you to Donna Iverson, the Learning Specialist Educational Assistant at Edmund’s Elementary, for sending this my way!

John Brown the Fight For Freedom

Stunning  John Brown book from John Hendrix (Abe Lincoln Crosses a Creek). Great read and history lesson refresher of an abolitionist superstar.

“Published on the 150th anniversary of John Brown’s raid on Harpers Ferry, this biography explores the life of one of American history’s most controversial figures. This is the first book for young readers to include these new attitudes and research.

In the late 1850s, at a time when many men and women spoke out against slavery, few had the same impact as John Brown, the infamous white abolitionist who backed his beliefs with unstoppable action. His dedication to freeing the American slaves made him one of the most recognizable leaders in the liberation movement to end slavery. John Brown: His Fight for Freedom is a fitting reminder that all men and women are created equal, and that some things are worth fighting for. The book includes an author’s note, a bibliography, and an index.”

Anything But Typical, Show Way

Anything But Typical by Nora Raleigh Baskin

*Starred Review* Baskin tells this luminous story entirely from the point of view of Jason, an autistic boy who is a creative-writing whiz and deft explainer of literary devices, but markedly at a loss in social interactions with “neurotypicals” both at school and at home. He is most comfortable in an online writing forum called Storyboard, where his stories kindle an e-mail-based friendship with a girl. His excitement over having a real friend (and maybe even girlfriend) turns to terror when he learns that his parents want to take him on a trip to the Storyboard conference, where he’ll no doubt have to meet her in person. With stunning economy, Baskin describes Jason’s attempts to interpret body language and social expectations, revealing the extreme disconnect created by his internalization of the world around him. Despite his handicap, Jason moves through his failures and triumphs with the same depth of courage and confusion of any boy his age. His story, while neither particularly heartbreaking nor heartwarming, shows that the distinction between “normal” and “not normal” is whisper-thin but easily amplified to create the chasm between “different” and “defective.” This is an enormously difficult subject, but Baskin, without dramatics or sentimentality, makes it universal. As Jason explains, there’s really only one kind of plot: “Stuff happens. That’s it.” Grades 4-7. –Ian Chipman

Show Way by Jacqueline Woodson

Gr. 3-5. A Show Way is a quilt with secret meanings, and the image works as both history and haunting metaphor in this exquisite picture book. Based on Woodson’s own history, the unforgettable story tells of African American women across generations, from slavery and the civil rights movement to the present. The cut-out jacket design is impressive, as is Talbott’s mixed-media artwork inside, which extends Woodson’s clear poetic narrative with beautiful collages that make use of big triangles, squares, and curves to emphasize portraits and landscapes and show connections and courage. The first double-page spread is of anguished separation when Soonie’s great-grandmother is sold “without her ma or pa.” Growing up on a plantation in South Carolina, Soonie learns from Big Mama about children “growing up and getting themselves free,” and also how to sew quilts with signs that show the way to freedom. Time passes: Soonie’s granddaughter, Georgiana, has twin girls who march for freedom in the 1960s. The final glorious spread shows Georgiana’s granddaughter, Jacqueline Woodson, laughing at home with her own beloved daughter, Toshi Georgiana, whose picture is embedded in a quilt, connecting her with those who came before. A must for the classroom, this story will move many readers to explore their own family roots; link it to the Booklist interview with Woodson [BKL F 1 05], in which she talks about what she owes to those who came before her. Hazel Rochman
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African-American History in Vermont

Check out an interview on Vermont Public Radio with author Elise Guyette today at Noon & 7:00 pm.  She will discuss  her new book “Discovering Black Vermont: African-American Farmers in Hinesburgh, 1790-1890.”

For some background on the book read Mark Bushnell’s (of The Times Argus) article.  “Long-ago black community adds to the history of Vermont”.