Susanna Leonard Hill has a feature on her blog called Perfect Picture Book Friday. It is a list of “perfect” picture books recommended by all sorts of people. I chose this book because it is a picture book meant for older kids that talks about segregation in schools and the civil rights movement. I thought it was done very well.
By Pamela M. Tuck
Illustrated by Eric Velasquez
40 pages – ages 9+
Published by Lee & Low Books on April 1, 2013
Theme/Topic- Segregation/Racism/civil rights
Opening and Synopsis- Taken from the first page and inside jacket –
“Trouble was brewing in Greenville, North Carolina.“
“Young Mason Steele takes pride in turning his father’s latest civil rights incidents into handwritten business letters. One day Pa comes home with a gift from his civil rights group: a typewriter. Thrilled with the present, Mason spends all his spare time teaching himself to type.”
The story follows Mason and his brothers as they attend a school that used to be all white. Many students, teachers and administrators are not happy that Mason is there. Mason uses his skills on the typewriter to continue to help his father, gain respect from some people and prove that he has an amazing skill.
Why I liked this book –
I like how Ms. Tuck puts explains segregation in a kid-friendly way, from Mason’s POV. It makes it more powerful. The world needs more books like this. I like how Mason preferred a manual typewriter to an electronic one in the typing contest he entered. The book is historical fiction but is based on Ms. Tuck’s father’s experiences during that time period. There is an author’s note at the end of the book with more details about the history and story behind this story. It really added to the book.
Mr. Velasquez’s illustrations were amazing! The expressions on the character’s faces told even more of the story. I love all the details he included in them.
I think this book should be in every household and classroom!
Hey, here’s a cool fact: Ms. Tuck is a fellow PiBoIdMo participant! 😀
Activities and Resources – At the publisher’s website there is a section of discussion questions on the book. I think it would be a great resource for teachers and parents to talk about desegregation. Click HERE to go THERE.
There is also an interview with Mr. Moses Teel Jr. (Ms. Tuck’s father whom she based the book on) called “Voices from the Civil Rights Movement” that you can find HERE.
You can learn more about Ms. Tuck and her other books by visiting her website HERE.
Like Ms. Tuck on Facebook HERE.
You can learn more about Mr. Velasquez and his illustration works HERE.
To find more Perfect Picture Books please visit Susanna Hill’s blog HERE!