February 28, 2015

The Story of Ruby Bridges

On Ruby's first day, a large crowd of angry white people gathered outside.
The people carried signs that said they didn't want black children in a white school.
People called Ruby names; some wanted to hurt her... the marshals carried guns.
Ruby would hurry through the crowd and not say a word.

You may have heard about when schools were first integrated in the South, but have you heard about the brave little girl who endured angry white parents who shouted at her every day because they didn't want black children attending school with their children?

I'm talking about Ruby Bridges, and if your child doesn't know who she is, this is the perfect time to read The Story Of Ruby Bridges to them. Why? Because today is the last day of Black History Month and the eve of Women's History Month, and the perfect time to learn about Ruby's story. Not only is it a story that teaches children courage, it also teaches how to love others - even if they don't love or understand you.

Chances are you've seen the Norman Rockwell 1964 Paintingof young Ruby Bridges, then only six-years old, being escorted to school by U.S. Marshals as a result of her decision to a school that had been all-white. It was a time of racial strife, and many white parents stop sending their children to school because they didn't want them to go to the same school as a black child. So for months, Ruby studied alone in her class - but she didn't let loneliness stop her. Ruby learned to read and write and she continued to learn day after day - all by herself.

The Story Of Ruby Bridges  is a great picture book for young children for many reasons.It teaches children that doing the brave thing isn't always the easy thing - but that it can still be done with dignity and grace. Also, even though each morning, Ruby was shouted at - and sometimes had tomatoes and other items thrown at her - she went to school and never gave up, because she and her parents were determined for her to have the best education. It is a story that all children, especially those who have faced adversity and bullying at school can learn from.

February 3, 2015

D is for Drinking Gourd

Product Details
L is for Little Rock Nine,
the students who integrated school
at Little Rock, Arkansas's Central High -
protected under military rule.

D is for Drinking Gourd is a wonderful picture book that tells the African-American story with beautiful illustrations and comprehensive facts, offering a great introduction to African-American history for young children ages 2-10.

The book begins with "A is for abolitionists" and continues with other important highlights of Black history including "E is for Emancipation," "G is for the Great Migration," and "H is for Harlem Renaissance," all in a way that is understandable to young children. It is a great tool for sharing African-American history to young children in a factual, yet heartfelt way that doesn't only tell of the atrocities of Black history, but also of the triumphs and victories.

One of my favorite references in the book is "D is for Drinking Gourd" from the book title, which explains how fugitive slaves referred to the Big Dipper as "Drinking Gourd." The book explains how this constellation helped slaves locate the North Star which guided them toward freedom.

Other significant events highlighted in the book include the founding of the NAACP, history of the Tuskegee Airmen, winners of the Pulitzer Prize, and the congressional terms of African-Americans including Hiram Revels, who is unknown to many, but  in 1870 became the first African-American United States senator.

D is for Drinking Gourd is a must for any adult who wants to introduce Black history to a child, and it is a great way for teachers to celebrate Black History with students. It is a truly heartfelt compilation of both heartbreaking – and victorious moments in Black history and should be read by adult of all races who want to share an accurate and heartfelt history of the African-American experience.