My favorite event in history is the Montgomery Bus Boycott, so as my children have gotten older, I feel like it is time to share my admiration for the event with them. From school, they know the basics of the event, and key players Rosa Parks and Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr., which is a plus. We recently read a book that facilitated a little more of our conversation.
Boycott Blues: How Rosa Parks Inspired a Nation by Andrea Davis Pinkney and Brian Pinkney was a great picture book to deepen our conversation about the Montgomery Bus Boycott and the Civil Rights Movement.
In this book, the storyteller is a “dog-tired” dog who is playing the Blues and Jim Crow is a large black cloud that is surrounding Montgomery during the event. These symbolic aspects are conversation pieces themselves, but we didn’t delve too much into that. We focused more on the logistics of the event itself, including talking about how Dr. King was involved and the unification of the Black community during the Boycott. Even after we were finished with the book, we had conversations about related people and events, including Ruby Bridges.
This book is poetically written, and reading it aloud in the right cadence added to the beauty of the book. As with all books illustrated by Pinkney, the pictures do a great job of showcasing the mood of this historical event.
So, I’m sharing our bedtime read experience not only because Boycott Blues is a great book, but also because if there’s a historical event that you want your children to know more about, finding a picture book to help you start that conversation is a wonderful starting point.
Because of my obsession with books, as well as my superior expressive reading ;), I do most of the bedtime reading with the kids. However, I do recognize when it makes more sense for their father to have that role, and we recently had one of those moments.
My kids are obsessed with the Hamilton soundtrack. Yes, they’re a tad bit late to the party, but they’ve arrived. And it’s arrived with a whole unexpected conversation about why they can’t use curse words, but I digress…
To coincide with their desire to play the soundtrack every day, I found a book that I thought they would enjoy–
This book, written and illustrated by Don Brown, is all about the rivalry and eventual dual between Alexander Hamilton and Aaron Burr. Now, I was all set and ready to read this to the kids, excited even, but then a light bulb went off–why not have their Dad read it to them? My husband is a high school Social Studies teacher, and a general history buff. It would make more sense for him to read it to them, especially if they have extra questions once the story begins, because there’s a big chance I won’t be able to answer them. And guess what? I was right!
The kids were super excited about the book, my husband enjoyed reading something to him that he already had background knowledge about, and although I love reading to the kids, I had the night off!
So, in your #RaisingReaders quest, if you’re looking to involve another reader, think about what books the reader and the kids could enjoy. Also, if you have kids that enjoy Hamilton, this is a great book for them too!
I just wanted to quickly wish everyone a Happy New Year, and to remember to keep raising readers, no matter where that may take you and your reader(s)!
In 2018 I gave into Harry Potter (really the fantasy genre as a whole) and developed a true appreciation for graphic novels. As a result, my kiddos continue to grow as readers and as educated citizens in general, even though that’s probably not the path I would have taken to get them there. But that’s the power in giving them choice–as long as I keep an eye on the long term goal (to enjoy books), it has been less of a headache for me and them to let them take the lead as often as I can.
So if you haven’t tried letting them take the lead, take this new year as an opportunity to let them lead the way!
Ever have one of those books that slowly but surely grabs your child’s attention, even during one of their super goofy periods? I did recently, and was pleasantly surprised that it was a non-fiction book that did the job!
We recently read Charlie Takes His Shot, a picture book biography by Nancy Churnin, illustrated by John Joven. This is a biography of Charlie Sifford, who broke the color barrier in the game of golf. Sadly, I had never heard of him, and neither had my children, but they were engaged with the story right away.
The opening scene of the book (see below) grabbed my busy bodied children right away, and then Churnin jumps right into giving the historical context, which also grabbed their attention.
We learned all about the struggles Mr. Sifford had to deal with when trying to play professionally on PGA tours when there was a literal “Caucasian rule” that said he could not play on PGA courses.
One of the many interesting things I enjoyed about the book was concept that Charlie’s success was not only due to his golfing skills, but also the help of others. Jackie Robinson, who broke the color barrier in baseball, was actually one of those people. Although it often can appear to be one person who makes such a big change, it actually takes the support and efforts of many to achieve such a historical change and that I love that this book makes that so clear.
The bright colorful illustrations are wonderful in this book and all three of us learned something new with this great bedtime read.
This book is great for a child who enjoys, golf, Civil Rights, and/or biographies.
Keep Raising Readers!
This was one of my favorite books as a child, I distinctly remember checking it out of the library multiple times. I’m amazed and happy that it is still popular today. This blogger, Jennie shares some of the backstory and some interesting stats about this wonderful book.
Fifty years. That’s a very long time. For a book to still be alive, vibrant, and read all over the world – fifty years later – is astounding. The Very Hungry Caterpillar by Eric Carle is celebrating it’s 50th anniversary this year, with a golden book jacket. The caterpillar in the story wasn’t always a […]
via The Very Hungry Caterpillar – 50th Anniversary — A Teacher’s Reflections