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These Hands

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4.24  ·  Rating Details  ·  498 Ratings  ·  148 Reviews
Joseph’s grandpa could do almost anything with his hands. He could play the piano, throw a curveball, and tie a triple bowline knot in three seconds flat. But in the 1950s and 60s, he could not bake bread at the Wonder Bread factory. Factory bosses said white people would not want to eat bread touched by the hands of the African Americans who worked there.In this powerful ...more
Hardcover, 32 pages
Published March 7th 2011 by HMH Books for Young Readers
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(showing 1-30 of 877)
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Meags
Aug 25, 2015 Meags rated it really liked it
4 Stars

I stumbled across this fabulous picture book the other day at school and promptly read it to my class. It precipitated a fantastic class discussion concerning discrimination and civil rights; a discussion that really engrossed the children’s attention and gave them something to think about.

The story follows young Joseph, as his grandfather teaches him how to do many different things with his hands – from shuffling cards to playing a piano, to swinging a baseball bat or tying a triple bow
...more
Margo Tanenbaum
Don't miss this moving new picture book that combines a little-known piece of labor history and the civil rights movement with a tender portrait of a grandfather's close relationship with his grandson. Author Margaret Mason explains in an author's note that during the 1950s and early 1960s, African American workers at Wonder Bread and other bakery factories were allowed to sweep the floors, load the trucks, and fix the machines--but they were not allowed to work as bread dough mixers or bread do ...more
CH13_Lisa Matthews
These Hands is a story about an African American grandfather telling his grandson about all the things his hands could do except for one thing, which was mixing and making bread dough in the Wonder Bread Factory during the 1950’s. In this powerful intergenerational story, Joseph learns from his grandfather that people joined their hands together to fight discrimination so that one day, Joseph’s hands and the hands of other just like him could do anything their heart desire.

These Hands has severa
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Natalie
Feb 03, 2015 Natalie rated it it was amazing
A grandfather lovingly shares moments from his life with his grandson. Memories of playing the piano, doing card tricks, and throwing baseballs at top speed are interspersed with pre-Civil Rights Act workplace discrimination. The historical element of These Hands is based on policies from the Detroit Wonderbread factory during the 1950s and ‘60s, which prohibited African-American workers from handling bread or using machinery involved in food preparation. To combat the unfair practices, the gran ...more
Krista
Feb 14, 2016 Krista rated it really liked it
Shelves: literacy-class
"These Hands" by Margaret H. Mason is appropriate for all ages, Kindergarten through adulthood. It is a gentle introduction to civil rights explained through the life story of a grandpa. Throughout the book Joseph's grandpa is telling his life story in a sing song way by helping Joseph learn skills such as tying a shoe, playing the piano, and lastly making bread "Look at these hands, Joseph. Did you know these hands used to make the ivories sing like a sparrow in the springtime?" In the middle o ...more
Cleo White
Nov 30, 2015 Cleo White added it
Shelves: wow-books
“Look at these hands, Joseph. Did you know these hands used to make the ivories sing like a sparrow in springtime? Well, I can still show a young fellow how to play “Heart and Soul”—yes, I can.”

In this story Joseph spends a lot of time with his Grandfather. Grandfather teaches Joseph different things like playing the piano and making bread. But, even with all the things that Grandfathers hands could do, he tells Joseph that there was a time during the Civil Rights movement that his hands could n
...more
Cole Hoffman
Oct 23, 2014 Cole Hoffman rated it really liked it
These Hands is written from the perspective of a Grandfather talking to his Grandson. The Grandfather lists several things that his hands had done over the years, such as play piano, shuffle cards, and take an active part in the Civil Rights movement. The point that the Grandfather is trying to teach his Grandson is that if his hands did so much, then there is no limit to what his Grandson's hands can do.

I love the constant metaphor throughout the book of, these hands changed history. It is a gr
...more
Sofia Davis
Oct 22, 2014 Sofia Davis rated it it was amazing
These Hands by Margaret H. Mason & illustrated by Floyd Cooper. is about a young African American boy named Joseph who has a grandpa who can do just about anything with his own two hands. He can play the piano, throw curveballs, and even tie a triple bowline knot in three seconds. Although since it is the 1950s and 60s, Joseph’s grandfather wasn't allowed to bake bread in the Wonder Bread Factory since the boss said white people wouldn’t buy or eat bread cooked and touched by the hands of an ...more
David
Jan 16, 2012 David rated it it was amazing
These Hands by Margaret H. Mason, illustrated by Floyd Cooper gently introduces discrimination and the Civil Rights Movement as Joseph learns, from his grandfather, that people joined their hands together to fight discrimination so that one day, their hands, and Joseph’s hands, could do anything at all in this whole wide world.

Joseph’s Grandpa could do almost anything with his hands: play the piano, throw a curveball, and tie a triple bowline knot fast. But in the 1950s and 60s, he could not ba
...more
Tatiana
Joseph's grandpa could do almost anything with his hands, like playing the piano, throwing a curve ball, and tie a bow in "three seconds flat." But once there were things those same hands could not do.

In this quietly powerful picture book, the discrimination African Americans felt before the passing of the Civil Rights Act when trying to work is respectfully portrayed through the oral history of one grandfather to his grandson. Based on a true experience, this is a subtle way to introduce the f
...more
Jake Newnom
Apr 26, 2016 Jake Newnom rated it it was amazing
This picture book story is about a young African-American boy named Joseph and his grandfather and how he learns, from his grandfather how to do all of these wonderful things with his hands, and what his grandad did with his own hands growing up as a black man during racial segregation and stereotyping. Grandfather shows Joseph that with his hands, he could hit a baseball, play the piano, tie his shows, and even bake bread. Joseph’s grandfather goes on to share memories of a time when he and cou ...more
Gabrielle Blockton
Sep 30, 2014 Gabrielle Blockton rated it really liked it
Date: September 30th, 2014

Author: Margaret H. Mason; Illustrated by Floyd Cooper

Title: These Hands

Plot: Margaret H. Mason's powerful picture story-book tells the story of a Grandfather and Grandson spending time with each other playing the piano, playing ball and tying shoes. The book also tells the story of African-American workers not allowed to work with bread-dough at the Wonder Bread Company.

Setting: No setting is addressed

Characters: Grandfather and Grandson

Point-of-View: First-Person

The
...more
Tonya Nelson
Summary: This historical realistic fiction picture book tells a wonderful story about overcoming discrimination as Joseph learns about his grandfather’s past during the Civil Rights Movement. Joseph’s grandfather tells about all of the things he can do with his hands: play the piano, throw curve balls, and tie a triple bowline. However, in the past, he was not able to work in a factory to make bread because of racial discrimination. This book talks about how African Americans joined their hands ...more
Michelle
Apr 24, 2015 Michelle added it
Shelves: multicultural
1. Text to text connection: The part of this book that explains what people did to make their voices heard reminds me of the book We March by Shane W. Evans. Both of these books show, in simple words and pictures, what those who were fighting for civil rights did. It shows how they made signs, gave speeches and worked together to help to get their point across. Both of these books give a young audience the chance to see what it was like to be an African American during the civil rights movement. ...more
Danielle Rhea
Dec 08, 2015 Danielle Rhea rated it it was amazing
These Hands is such an inspiring book to read. I’m a sucker for the Coretta Scott King awarded books because of the empowerment that the books give African Americans. Especially this book though, this book had an amazing story to tell. It is beautifully to see a little boy admire his grandfather so much. Joseph thinks so highly of his grandfather that he really believes that no matter what his grandfather can do with his hands, he can do it amazingly. Unfortunately in the 50s and 60s this wasn’t ...more
Markie Wise
Apr 30, 2015 Markie Wise rated it really liked it
These Hands is a very special and important book that I think many older children would be very interested in reading. This book is based on a true story, which is further explained in the Author's note in the back. As the story goes along, Joseph's grandpa tells him about all of the great things his hands can do, tie shoes, hit baseballs, shuffle cards, and more. Then he tells him of what they used to not be able to do, and how he took part in changing that. In the end, Joseph realizes all the ...more
Kara Duncan
These Hands is about a grandfather teaching his grandson to do things with his hands. The grandfather teaches hitting a ball with a bat, shuffling cards, etc. The shocking realization at the end of this book is when the grandfather tells his grandson all of the things he could not do with his hands while he was younger because of the color of his skin. The grandfather was only ever allowed to sweep and run a machine on the line at the WonderBread factory. The grandfathers boss told him no one wo ...more
Rachel
Dec 09, 2014 Rachel rated it really liked it
This book is about an African American boy named Joseph and his grandfather. Joseph’s grandfather explains how he could do
so many things with his hands, except a few things because of his skin color. He tells Joseph about the things he could not do and shows Joseph how to do everything he can do to show him how they have overcome racial discrimination. The story ends by the grandfather telling Joseph he can do anything with his hands.

The genre of this book is culture. The format is a picture boo
...more
Raegan Young
Apr 30, 2015 Raegan Young rated it really liked it
Shelves: t-l-307, cultural
An African-American man talks to his grandson about what his hands used to do. He tells him how these hands were able to tie a triple bowline knot in three seconds and many other things than show his grandson how to do the same things. The grandfather then tells his grandson that these hands were not allowed to mix dough in the bread factory but were only allowed to sweep floors and load trucks because white people did not want them toughing their bread. That all changed though when many hands j ...more
Samantha Simmons
Dec 09, 2014 Samantha Simmons rated it it was amazing
An African-American man talks to his grandson about what his hands used to do. He tells him how these hands were able to tie a triple bowline knot in three seconds and many other things than show his grandson how to do the same things. The grandfather then tells his grandson that these hands were not allowed to mix dough in the bread factory but were only allowed to sweep floors and load trucks because white people did not want them toughing their bread. That all changed though when many hands j ...more
Linda Lipko
May 26, 2015 Linda Lipko rated it really liked it
Joseph is very close to his grandpa. He marvels at his ability to play the piano, to teach him to tie his shoes and to teach him to throw a curve ball. Joseph's grandfather tells him the story of what marvelous things he could, and can do with his hands.

There was a time, however, when despite all his talents, Joseph's grandfather could not use his hands to kneed the dough when he worked at the Detroit Wonder Bread Factory. Discriminatory policies were in place in the 1950-1960's and black people
...more
Spencer Klein
These Hands by Margaret H. Mason is an incredible book dealing with the racial issues in the 1950's and 60's. A boy explains how his grandpa can do almost anything with his hands, except his job, which is baking bread. This book would have been groundbreaking during the civil right movement like that of The Snowy Day. Because it was made in this decade however, people would be more inclined to agree that what happened during the time this book was set was inhumane. I thought it did a very good j ...more
Cathy
Mar 08, 2015 Cathy rated it really liked it
Recommended to Cathy by: California Young Reader 2015
Joseph’s grandpa could do almost anything with his hands. He could play the piano, throw a curveball, and tie a triple bowline knot in three seconds flat. But in the 1950s and 60s, he could not bake bread at the Wonder Bread factory. Factory bosses said white people would not want to eat bread touched by the hands of the African Americans who worked there. In this powerful intergenerational story, Joseph learns that people joined their hands together to fight discrimination so that one day, thei ...more
Patricia Tilton
Feb 28, 2016 Patricia Tilton rated it it was amazing
Margaret Mason’s has written an inspiring intergenerational story about a boy and his grandfather. This compelling true story is about the discrimination the grandfather experienced as an African-American working in a Wonder Bread factory.

The text is written in free verse with a refrain from the grandfather that heralds the beginning of each double-page spread: “Look at these hands, Joseph. / Did you know these hands used to…” Hands alone were the victims of the prejudice. Hands joined together
...more
Melanie Clark
The picture book These Hands I thought was pretty good but not my favorite. It touches on a very serious subject that isn’t brought up in picture books very often. This book does go into detail about the main characters culture but I wish it would have went a little deeper than it did. I think that kids will be able to connect to this book especially if they have a strong relationship or connection with their grandpa. This book will shows student what life was like for African Americans in the p ...more
Betsy
Feb 13, 2012 Betsy rated it it was amazing
I really love the gentleness in this book--such a terrific introduction to Civil Rights and a large, hard section of our American history in a way that very young children can begin to appreciate. Cooper's illustrations are outstanding, as usual.
Jenny
These Hands is lovely. In just a few words per page, a warm, loving relationship between a grandfather and grandson is developed...reminding me so much of my own dear deceased grandpa. And in addition, these few lines gently tell a story of the inequality that existed in the 50's and 60's in the Wonder Bread factories (and, of course, many other places as well.). All by explaining what the grandfather's hands could and couldn't do. Beautifully written! The illustrations remind me of sepia colore ...more
Monica
Nov 22, 2015 Monica rated it it was amazing
Throughout this book the author describes how a grandfather is teaching his grandson how to do a variety of things with his hands. Eventually while the grandfather is teaching all of these things he tells his grandson all of the things he was not able or allowed to be because of the color of his skin. However, the grandfather did not make it a negative story but instead told his grandson not to get discouraged when attitudes like that are reflected.

Using this book in the classroom would be very
...more
Joan Marie
Jan 26, 2016 Joan Marie rated it it was amazing
Endearing text speaks of all the things Grandfather could do with his hands when he was young and all the things he can teach/show/help his grandson to learn to do. The text also reveals something Grandfather wasn't allowed to do, because of the color of his skin - make bread dough at the wonder Bread factory. By joining hands, writing petitions, carrying signs, raising voices, things changed so everyone can. Grandson tells Grandfather that his hands used to not be able to tie shoes, etc. but no ...more
Natalie Traylor
This story is about an older African American man who told his grandson the different things he could do with his hands. He tells him his hands could not be used to make bread, because white people would not want to eat bread made by a black man. He got together with other men whose hands signed petitions so his grandson could make bread for white men now.

I would use this book while discussing the inequality black citizens once received. We would discuss other jobs/tasks that students think bla
...more
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