My group members and I chose to pick from the African American Children’s and Young Adult Literature list, because we have learned so much about African American literature being absent so many times when it comes to children of color’s literature, which is one factor that leads to children being uninterested in reading in the classroom. We also chose from this list of books because it helps children to understand history, and how minorities fought to have the same rights.These books help to initiate these conversations.
One book that we chose from the list is Granddaddy’s Turn- A Journey to the Ballot box. To summarize, the story was about a grandfather, and grandson Michael, who lived on a farm. Granddaddy was always working hard on the farm and even though that is the case, granddaddy always made time to play and spend time with Michael. Granddaddy often emphasized the importance of having patience even when it is difficult. One morning, Michael noticed that granddaddy had a suit on- which is different from his usual farm clothing, and Michael knew from that moment that something special was going to happen. His grandfather was able to vote for the very first time and Michael was thrilled. This reinforced the lesson that, “patience is key.”
I really enjoyed this book because it made the civil rights struggle relate able for children. Reading this book also made me think of how I would feel if I wasn’t able to vote in the past election. I would feel very restricted, and furious if I wasn’t given that right, and it overall is a great reminder for everyone to be appreciative of the rights that we have today. If I was a third or fourth grade teacher, I would definitely read this book to my class to aid in the discussion of civil rights and how minorities were treated much differently by whites back then, and how many African Americans have made it possible for us to go to the same schools, public places, vote, etc.
In the book,White Water, the main characters are Michael, and his grandmother. They also grew up in the South, when whites and blacks were segregated. The books starts off with the grandma and grandson Michael going into town on a bus. When they get on the bus, they have to pay their fair, and then go all the way to be back because African Americans weren’t allowed to sit in the front. When he got off the bus, he was super thirsty because of the heat so he went to get a drink from the “colored only” water fountain. Immediately, he realizes that the water is dirty, and disgusting. When he looked over, he noticed a white boy drinking at a “whites only” water fountain and he wanted to drink from it. He assumed that the water was going to be refreshing and cold. Because of his determination to drink from the white water fountain, his grandmother told him not to, which made him obsess about drinking from it, to the point that he was having bad nightmares of getting arrested. Finally, he snuck to taste water from the white fountain only to find that the water was also gross and dirty.
This book would also be good to read to my students. It would also be a good tool that I could use to spark a conversation on racial inequalities that African Americans faced back then. This book is also great because it explains how even though blacks were seperated and could only use “black only” faucets, and bathrooms,etc. the water tasted exactly the same which means that most of the time people try to label things, or make you think that since only white people could drink from it, then the water must be good, when in actuality, there was no difference. Racism is what made the difference. This would be a great idea for my students to think about,as well as some racism that might occur in their lives that they haven’t necessarily thought about.