Ch_hayley Medsker's Reviews > White Socks Only

White Socks Only by Evelyn Coleman
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Feb 08, 10

bookshelves: mc-literarture
Read in February, 2010

White Socks Only is a story of segregation, taking place in Mississippi in the mid 1900's. An innocent girl walks into town by herself on a mission to experiment with frying an egg on a hot summers day. Successful in this, she is on her way home when she stops for a drink of water. Confusing the "whites only" sign on the water fountain to refer to merely wearing her white socks, she takes off her shoes to take a drink. She is forcefully stopped when a white man grabs her, pushes her to the ground, and threatens her. Yet, the black townspeople come to the girl's rescue by taking off their shoes and defiantly drink from the fountain. She's commended at home by her family, with the sign taken down, she's made her mark in the town.
Coleman's illustrations remind me of Jerry Pinkney's works. Smokey, yet beautiful and classic. The story packs a powerful message about the effects on children during segregated times; that children were not immune to the viciousness of racist behaviors. This would be an acceptable book for a primary audience, without being overly explicit with historical details. Yet, this text could certainly supplement a history unit with intermediate readers as well.
I listened to this story on Storyline Online. I was multi-tasking, listening and grading papers at the same time. But, I must say, that the beginning of the story had left me uninterested...until the plot thickened with the confrontation at the fountain. My ears perked up and suddenly, the narrator had my full attention. I rewound the story to view the illustrations then and to attend to the story in more detail. I would definitley read this text aloud to my students, the message and historical concepts are reinforced through this lovley picture book.
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