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Summary: On February 1, 1960, four college students from North Carolina A&T State University went to the lunch counter at Woolworth's to order a doughnut and coffee, with cream on the side. They sat for hours, and no one would take their order. They sat until closing, waiting quietly and patiently. The next day, they returned, and some friends came, too; not only in Greensboro, but around the country. It didn't matter that the students were polite, quiet, dressed in their Sunday best. The white patrons vented their anger - in words and food - on the students. Finally, in June 1963 President Kennedy urged Congress to take action; and in July 1964, President Johnson signed the Civil Rights Act of 1964. This picture book tells the history of the student sit-ins and wraps it in a food analogy.
Type of Reading: family reading, independent reading, read aloud book, reluctant reader
Recommended Age: read together: 6 to 9; read yourself: 10 and Up
Interest Level: 6 to 10
Reading Level: 5.2
Age of Child: Read with a 10-year-old girl.
Young Reader Reaction: "That stinks, Mom." We had questions about how this related to Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr., ... almost in a way that left her thinking that this didn't happen because he wasn't involved. What helped her get the story was how the author connected the event with where the kids were: a food counter.
Adult Reader Reaction: I loved this book. So glad we found this to help round our our daughter's sense of history. Just as they did in Boycott Blues, the Pinkneys have taken an element of the event and woven it into the fabric of the story.
Pros: Incredible art and the artful weaving of food and citizenry make history accessible to elementary-aged students. This is a nice complement to other reading about community activism and nonviolence.
Borrow or Buy: Borrow, at least. This is a wonderful story about a lesser known piece of the Civil Rights Movement (at least in terms of what is taught in school).
Educational Themes: There is so much more to this book than the story of the lunch counter protests in Greensboro, North Carolina. The authors include a great bibliography in the back that can expand learning. Don't overlook studying the author's craft, either. The use of analogy to tell a story is illustrated most effectively in this book.
Notes: The Reading Tub reviewed a pre-release edition of this book.
Literary Categories: Nonfiction - picture book, US history, black history, 1960s