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The Picture-Book Club > February 2011: Discuss Our "Black History Month" Club Reads HERE




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message 150: by Kathryn, The Princess of Picture-Books (new)

Kathryn | 3146 comments Mod
Cheryl in CC NV wrote: "Finally got a chance to read Virgie Goes to School with Us Boys, Nothing to add; just want to say Thank You to you-all for encouraging me to read it."

I'm so glad! :-)

By the way, I saw some Scholastic DVDs on the shelf at Marshall's the other day and Martin's Big Words: The Life of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. was on one featuring African-American authors/themes. Just an FYI if any of you are interested in video versions.


message 149: by Cheryl (new)

Cheryl (cherylllr) | 1939 comments Mod
Finally got a chance to read Virgie Goes to School with Us Boys, Nothing to add; just want to say Thank You to you-all for encouraging me to read it.


message 148: by Kathryn, The Princess of Picture-Books (new)

Kathryn | 3146 comments Mod
Dolly wrote: "But overall, we really enjoyed these stories. Our favorites were Virgie Goes to School with Us Boys and Henry's Freedom Box, but I'm so glad that we were introduced to all of these stories. I doubt that I would've found them all on my own and I love that we read them during Black History Month.

I am too lazy to post my thoughts on each story, but I did leave reviews for each book. Thanks again for such worthwhile reads. Now, on to March's music reads! "


As Crystal said, no worries about posting "late" It's always great whenever anyone is able to read these books and join in the discussion. Glad you found some new books to enjoy thanks to the group and I'll look forward to seeing you over in our March Music Discussion :-)


message 147: by Crystal (new)

Crystal Marcos (CrystalMarcos) | 475 comments Dolly wrote: "I'm a bit late to the game here, but I thought I'd add in my two cents. We read all of this month's selections, including the alternate title. The only book we didn't read this February was [book..."

The nice thing about these threads you can always come back and post comments. I agree with you that I may not have found some of these books too. I am also grateful for that. Glad you enjoyed them.


message 146: by Dolly (new)

Dolly (dollymart) | 242 comments I'm a bit late to the game here, but I thought I'd add in my two cents. We read all of this month's selections, including the alternate title. The only book we didn't read this February was Martin's Big Words: The Life of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. - we read that one last year.

But overall, we really enjoyed these stories. Our favorites were Virgie Goes to School with Us Boys and Henry's Freedom Box, but I'm so glad that we were introduced to all of these stories. I doubt that I would've found them all on my own and I love that we read them during Black History Month.

I am too lazy to post my thoughts on each story, but I did leave reviews for each book. Thanks again for such worthwhile reads. Now, on to March's music reads!


message 145: by Ronyell (new)

Ronyell (Rabbitearsblog) | 206 comments I just read Yours for Justice, Ida B. Wells: The Daring Life of a Crusading Journalist and I really enjoyed it! I loved how Ida B. Wells stood up to the horrible situations that African-Americans were faced during the 1800s and it was horrible about the lynchings happening during that time. I think children would enjoy this, but the themes seem a bit too heavy for younger children and they might be upset about the themes.


message 144: by Kathryn, The Princess of Picture-Books (last edited Feb 24, 2011 08:45AM) (new)

Kathryn | 3146 comments Mod
While we're praising Kadir Nelson's wonderful breadth of work, I read Ellington Was Not a Street last night and found his work expressive, moving and beautiful, as ever! Just see if you can resist checking out the book after you take a look at that little girl's expression the cover...!!! ;-)

As for the book itself, I'm not sure it really worked for me as a picture book, though I appreciate the intent behind it. The text is actually a poem by the well-respected author Ntozake Shange; the little girl you see on the cover is Ntozake herself, and the story/poem is about all the famous and inspiring men who came to her father's house when she was little from musicians to authors to politicians and all striving for racial equality. Wow, what an amazing childhood she must have had! The poem is printed in its original form in the back of the book and I found it more powerful to read that way than in the way it was broken up for the picture book side of things. Also, I am sorry to say that, while I recognized some of the famous figures, there were several men I did not recognize and I actually reread the "story" again after I read the brief bios in the back of the book; it made more sense and was more powerful that way.

But, really, I am not sure how much children would get out of this book. I found myself lost at times and not really connecting to the figures because there is so little said about them and I didn't really know who some of them were so I think it will be a bit vague for most youngsters. That said, it is still worth while to introduce them to the fine poetry and beautiful artwork and it can be a good jumping off point for discussion about some of these inspiring figures like Paul Robeson, W.E.B. DuBois, Ray Barretto, Dizzy Gillespie, "Sonny Til" Tilghman, Kwame Nkrumah, and Duke Ellington.


message 143: by Kathryn, The Princess of Picture-Books (new)

Kathryn | 3146 comments Mod
Michelle wrote: "Okay! I finally procured copies of all of the selected books and made time to read and think about them! First of all, I would like to thank Kathryn for a fine selection of titles....

It's been so much fun to sample each of these books and formulate an opinion to share with you all! I love reading what everyone else has to say about these titles, and it's such a blessing to be able to stretch my brain muscles a little bit and know that there are kindred souls out there who enjoy these books as much as I do! Thanks for having me in the group! :)"


Thank you so much for your lovely post, Michelle! I loved hearing your thoughts on our selections. Also, I so appreciate your "thank you" regarding the excellent selection of titles but I truly must share the kudos with all the group members who voted for the books. You are the ones who make this group so great, first with the outstanding nominations and then choosing such wonderful books (and, of course, your fine discussion later!) and I usually only choose the books in cases of a tie. You guys make my life as moderator of this club easy and delightful ;-)

Finally, I think it's so exciting that there is a man who does a living history presentation as Henry "Box" Brown! Wow! That must be so powerful to witness. At the community college production I saw, it was more stylized with multitude of people acting out the scene and, while I appreciated the artistry and interpretation, I could imagine it being more powerful just the one man telling the story. Wow!


message 142: by Lisa (new)

Lisa Vegan (LisaVegan) | 971 comments MIchelle, Thanks for all your thoughts about all the books. They helped me remember and think more about the books. I'm going to check out The People Could Fly book if I haven't already shelved it. Thanks.


message 141: by Kirei (last edited Feb 23, 2011 11:51PM) (new)

Kirei | 346 comments Oh, gosh, Michelle, this makes me wonder if I should purchase Martin's Big Words: The Life of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. It's in my cart now...unless they raise the price!

It is hard for decide what to buy....I wanted to buy Henry's Freedom Box but it is only in hardcover and therefore too expensive. Decisions. Decisions.


message 140: by Michelle (new)

Michelle | 6 comments Wilhelmina wrote: "I realizes that I never commented on Full, Full, Full of Love, but I guess that some of you know that I absolutely love this grandma/grandson book. My grandson and I read it more tim..."

Wilhelmina, thank you so much for including the link to the brown bookshelf. I work at a children's library in an urban area and I think this will be such a valuable resource for me to share with our families!


message 139: by Michelle (new)

Michelle | 6 comments Kathryn wrote: "Crystal wrote: "First off thank you again to the group for introducing wonderful books I may have otherwise never found! I held Henry's Freedom Box in my hands for several minutes aft..."

Hi there! I'm also a love of Kadir Nelson's work, so I felt compelled to post and add for fans of his work that there are two equally sweet, light-hearted books that you should take a look at--if you haven't already--they are: Please, Baby, Please
and Please, Puppy, Please Enjoy!


message 138: by Michelle (new)

Michelle | 6 comments Emily wrote: "Cheryl wrote: The main thing reading the book did for me was remind me of a chronic question I have: why do people have children if they know those children are going to live in misery?

Because s..."


Beautifully stated, Emily. Reading these book selections made me so thankful for my own family and freedoms. How right you are to conclude that "Full, full, full of Love" was such a welcome respite. That book is like a warm hug!


message 137: by Michelle (new)

Michelle | 6 comments Okay! I finally procured copies of all of the selected books and made time to read and think about them! First of all, I would like to thank Kathryn for a fine selection of titles. I really appreciate not only the diversity of topics represented, but also enjoyed the different feel/style illustration-wise of each choice. I will list and discuss in order of favorite to least favorite.

Moses: When Harriet Tubman Led Her People to Freedom
I chose this as my favorite (even though, I think, it was an alternate title?) because of the beautiful blend of Kadir Nelson's(one of my favorite illustrators of all time) illustrations and Carole Weatherford's moving text. This book was simply stunning and imo fully deserving of both the Caldecott and Coretta Scott King awards that it earned. I was nearly moved to tears by this book. The raw, determined, courage of this amazing woman astounded me. Beautifully done. I also appreciated the brief explanation of slavery given in the foreward, as well as the author's notes at the end.

Full, Full, Full of Love
This one is my second favorite because it was just so warm and fun. The illustrator chose lots of warm, earthy colors and this made the book itself feel like a hug to me. I also enjoyed the fact that it was a story about a close-knit, loving family and that the fact that they are African American is not the central theme of the book. I do agree with one of my fellow book-group members though--if the baby was hungry, why not give him a little snack? I wondered that very thing as I read this book...

Henry's Freedom Box
Next was Henry's Freedom Box, another selection illustrated with amazing beauty and sensitivity by Kadir Nelson. His images are a delight to the eye and sometimes seem to render the text somewhat superfluous, so well do they tell the story. This has long been a favorite of mine for African American History month. Another one that moves me to tears, especially when he loses his family for a second time, and then when he makes the choice to intentionally damage his hand so that he can stay behind from work and put his plan in motion. Here in Ohio, we actually have a man who dresses in period clothes and performs this story, box and all! It's something, once seen, you would never forget. Just underscoring the resourcefulness and determination of all runaway slaves.

Yours for Justice, Ida B. Wells: The Daring Life of a Crusading Journalist
A completely different feel illustration-wise. The images were beautiful and very cleverly done, but felt cerebral and detached to me in contrast with some of the others. I really enjoyed learning about Ida B. Wells-Barnett, though. I had no idea she was so amazing. I am now forced to place her on the pedestal right up there with my beloved Sojourner Truth. What courage, grace, and fortitude. So much admiration for this woman who accomplished so much when confronted with the double-whammy of being not only African-American, but also a woman in a time when being either one was exceedingly difficult and restrictive--to say the least. Simply inspiring. I was also shocked and deeply saddened to learn how prevalent and socially acceptable lynching was even up until the 1950's.


Virgie Goes to School with Us Boys
A sweet story about a spunky young girl who insists on putting herself on the same footing with her brothers by pressing for an education. The most impressive part of this book, for me, was reading the author's note in the back of the book. Once again, I am amazed at how determined freed slaves and their children were to obtain an education and build successful lives for themselves in such a difficult time. The fact that all of the boys attended college and entered well-respected professions speaks volumes in terms of how much they valued their new found freedoms and how hungry they were to make the most of them.

Martin's Big Words: The Life of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.
Although I really love Bryan Collier's inspired collage work and the delightful details he included (like the words in the bus windows), this book felt spotty and disjointed to me. It felt like they had the "Big Words" that they wanted to quote all decided first and then tried to build the story around each quote. I don't think it worked very well. The book feels incomplete and choppy. I found myself mostly ignoring the text and focusing on Bryan Collier's rich textures instead.

It's been so much fun to sample each of these books and formulate an opinion to share with you all! I love reading what everyone else has to say about these titles, and it's such a blessing to be able to stretch my brain muscles a little bit and know that there are kindred souls out there who enjoy these books as much as I do! Thanks for having me in the group! :)

As an afterthought, here are some of my other favorite picture book titles for African American History month in case anyone has a chance to look at them. I think they deserve and honorable mention too! :)
The People Could Fly: The Picture Book
Dave the Potter: Artist, Poet, SlaveMy Brother Martin: A Sister Remembers Growing Up with the Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.
Happy Reading Everybody!


message 136: by Kathryn, The Princess of Picture-Books (new)

Kathryn | 3146 comments Mod
Janice wrote: "I so enjoy being a part of this group. By the way, 11 years ago, I invited Elizabeth Fitzgerald Howard to visit our library. What a delightful woman, so kind, pleasant and engaging. She said she started writing children's books because she recalled how it felt when she was young and could find no books with characters that looked like her. "

Oh, that is wonderful to hear! I love it when authors of good books turn out to be good people, too :-)

And, so happy you are enjoying the group!


message 135: by Janice (new)

Janice  Durante | 27 comments Kathryn wrote: "Janice wrote: "I sometimes used Howard's
Virgie Goes to School with Us Boys near the beginning of the school year. It's a great way to point out why we should all value education.
I strongly belie..."

Thanks, Kathryn! And Cheryl and Abigail. I so enjoy being a part of this group. By the way, 11 years ago, I invited Elizabeth Fitzgerald Howard to visit our library. What a delightful woman, so kind, pleasant and engaging. She said she started writing children's books because she recalled how it felt when she was young and could find no books with characters that looked like her.


message 134: by Ronyell (new)

Ronyell (Rabbitearsblog) | 206 comments I just read the following two books:

Virgie Goes to School with Us Boys: I loved this book! I loved the way that Virgie was portrayed as a brave and independent girl because she would not let anyone tell her that she cannot go to school because she is small and because she is a girl. I also loved the little information bank that the author provided at the end of the book about what blacks had to go through to get an education after the Civil War ended.

Henry's Freedom Box: This book was just so visually and emotionally stunning to read! I nearly cried at Henry's loss of his family and how much he had suffered over the years during slavery. I thought that his idea about mailing himself in a box to freedom was purely brilliant and now I know why he is one of the most famous runaway slaves!


message 133: by Cheryl (new)

Cheryl (cherylllr) | 1939 comments Mod
Another vote for Janice's strategy! Thank you, and all dedicated teachers and parents, for helping to make our next generation stronger and smarter.


message 132: by Kathryn, The Princess of Picture-Books (new)

Kathryn | 3146 comments Mod
Janice wrote: "I sometimes used Howard's
Virgie Goes to School with Us Boys near the beginning of the school year. It's a great way to point out why we should all value education.
I strongly believe in teaching history (whether in the classroom, library, or in adult-child conversations) from a variety of perspectives.


Kudos, Janice! That is wonderful. Your students are lucky to have you.


message 131: by Crystal (new)

Crystal Marcos (CrystalMarcos) | 475 comments Amy wrote: "Crystal wrote: "Amy wrote: "My 6-year-old son REALLY LIKES Virgie Goes to School (his favorite!) and Moses: When Harriet Tubman Led He People to Freedom. He does not care about historical accuracy ..."

I agree the content might be to strong for younger children, but ultimately something they should eventually read.


message 130: by Crystal (new)

Crystal Marcos (CrystalMarcos) | 475 comments Janice wrote: "Kathryn wrote: "I finally got to read Virgie Goes to School with Us Boys and I agree that it is an excellent and inspiring story--made all the more powerful by the fact that it's a t..."

Thank you for sharing. I like that you use Virgie Goes to School with Boys at the beginning of the school year. Great way to show the value in education.


message 129: by Crystal (new)

Crystal Marcos (CrystalMarcos) | 475 comments Abigail wrote: "Ack! As usual, I have a lot to catch up with, in this discussion! :)

First, I realize that I never thanked you, Wilhelmina, for posting Maya Angelou's Still I Rise! I love that poem, and agree tha..."


Glad your father is doing better.


message 128: by Kirei (new)

Kirei | 346 comments Yes, best wishes to your father, Abigail.

Amy wrote:

"On the other hand, my son still reads books with me and discusses with me now, and I don't think he'll do that for much longer." Yes, I wonder how much longer my son will let me do bedtime books. He is eight and he still loves it.


message 127: by Wilhelmina (new)

Wilhelmina Jenkins | 231 comments Abigail wrote: "I know I mentioned that my father was in ill health, in my comment, so I just wanted to say that he is doing better, and while still in the hospital, is no longer in such critical condition (his health problems are chronic and ongoing)...."

I am so happy to hear that your father is doing better, Abigail!


message 126: by Amy (new)

Amy Broadmoore (DelightfulChildrensBooks) | 32 comments Crystal wrote: "Amy wrote: "My 6-year-old son REALLY LIKES Virgie Goes to School (his favorite!) and Moses: When Harriet Tubman Led He People to Freedom. He does not care about historical accuracy or the amount of..."

It's tricky to know when to introduce topics like slavery to kids. I really wanted to put off sharing this part of history with my son. It is so horrible and struck me even more so when I thought about sharing it with someone for the first time. On the other hand, my son still reads books with me and discusses with me now, and I don't think he'll do that for much longer. I chose not to read Henry's Freedom Box to my 6-year-old son but to let him read Moses: When Harriet Tubman Led Her People to Freedom. If I were a teacher, I might wait until kids are 7 or 8 to read these.

I had no qualms with reading about Martin Luther King's assassination with my son. Kids play with guns at such an early age. (We have no toy guns in the house and our kids do not watch TV, except for the occasional sports event, and yet still they pick things up from other kids.) It seems valuable to me to share the tragedy of Martin Luther King getting shot and killed with even fairly young kids.


message 125: by Janice (new)

Janice  Durante | 27 comments Kathryn wrote: "I finally got to read Virgie Goes to School with Us Boys and I agree that it is an excellent and inspiring story--made all the more powerful by the fact that it's a true story and th..." I'd like to add my thanks to Abigail's moving response to
Martin's Big Words: The Life of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.. While I have shared this book many times with 1st-5th grade children, I had never thought about some of the issues Abigail brought up. I continue to feel the title reveals the book's emphasis on King's words, rooted in religious faith. Rappaport's use of MLK's actual words is effective and quite accessible for her audience.There is nothing else like it, to my knowledge. Collier's illustrations reinforce the author's respect for King's peaceful leadership. I concede that the role of white protesters could have been more clearly depicted, but with the addition of the author's note, I think it was given enough weight. I've found the picture book provides great opportunities to discuss the power of words to help bring about positive change. I agree that children's understanding of King should be enhanced with more than this one book.
I'd like to add that "Black History Month" should be every month. For instance, I sometimes used Howard's
Virgie Goes to School with Us Boys near the beginning of the school year. It's a great way to point out why we should all value education.
I strongly believe in teaching history (whether in the classroom, library, or in adult-child conversations) from a variety of perspectives. Michelson's As Good as Anybody explores the values and work that connected Rabbi Abraham Joshua Heschel
and King. I wrote a brief review of this 2009 Sydney Taylor Book Award winner on a recent post at: http://booksofwonder.wordpress.com/ca... I've also been featuring outstanding African-American authors/illustrators all month on my blog.
Finally, thanks to everyone for your wonderful, thought-provoking responses.


message 124: by Lisa (new)

Lisa Vegan (LisaVegan) | 971 comments Abigail, I'm glad he's doing better. Thanks for updating us.


message 123: by Gundula (new)

Gundula | 2028 comments Kathryn wrote: "Abigail wrote: "I know I mentioned that my father was in ill health, in my commented, so I just wanted to say that he is doing better, and while still in the hospital, is no longer in such critical..."

Me too, Abigail, all the best to you and to your father.


message 122: by Kathryn, The Princess of Picture-Books (last edited Feb 16, 2011 02:47PM) (new)

Kathryn | 3146 comments Mod
Abigail wrote: "I know I mentioned that my father was in ill health, in my commented, so I just wanted to say that he is doing better, and while still in the hospital, is no longer in such critical condition (his health problems are chronic and ongoing)."

So glad to hear he is doing better!


message 121: by Kathryn, The Princess of Picture-Books (new)

Kathryn | 3146 comments Mod
Kirei wrote: "I ordered Full, Full, Full of Love by Trish Cooke and Martin's Big Words  The Life of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. by Doreen Rappaport We finally received the [book:Full, Full, Full of Love|278..."

I'm glad you got "Full, Full, Full of Love" at least--and that you both enjoyed it so much! How perfect, too, that it could work as a Valentine's Day book; what a great point :-)


message 120: by Kirei (last edited Feb 17, 2011 12:24AM) (new)

Kirei | 346 comments I ordered Full, Full, Full of Love by Trish Cooke and Martin's Big Words  The Life of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. by Doreen Rappaport We finally received the Full, Full, Full of Love but they were out of stock of Martin's Big Words: The Life of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. so I cancelled it. (I was looking forward to reading it!)

DS loved Full, Full, Full of Love and I thought it was really sweet. Some thoughts: I liked how at the end she told them to clean up! You get the feeling she made most of that huge meal herself. I also liked when the author listed the food, she rhymed it. Otherwise, I don't know if it would have held my attention. I think this book makes a nice Valentine's Day book, too, since it is about love.

We also read I Am Rosa Parks this month but ds preferred the Full, Full, Full of Love. I think this is because it is a gentle book. DS doesn't really seem to like books that deal with weighty issues (although of course he needs to....)

Editted to add: I just checked amazon.co.jp and it looks like they NOW have "Martin's Big Words" in stock. So I'll have to order it when I make my March order......


message 119: by Crystal (new)

Crystal Marcos (CrystalMarcos) | 475 comments Kathryn wrote: "Crystal wrote: "First off thank you again to the group for introducing wonderful books I may have otherwise never found! I held Henry's Freedom Box in my hands for several minutes aft..."

Thank you. I am glad it was choosen to be highlighted.
Thank you for the review of Just the Two of Us, I especially love the introductory poem. Can't wait to see the illustrations.


message 118: by Crystal (last edited Feb 16, 2011 08:25AM) (new)

Crystal Marcos (CrystalMarcos) | 475 comments Wilhelmina wrote: "My grandson was six when I read him Henry's Freedom Box, Crystal, but I think that I waited a year before reading it to his class. They were very excited by the escape. I was familiar..."

Glad the children enjoyed the book. It must have been very exciting for them. I agree, I thought Kadir Nelson's art was beautiful.


message 117: by Kathryn, The Princess of Picture-Books (new)

Kathryn | 3146 comments Mod
Crystal wrote: "First off thank you again to the group for introducing wonderful books I may have otherwise never found! I held Henry's Freedom Box in my hands for several minutes after I read it.
...
I learned that Kadir Nelson illustrated Will Smith’s Just the Two of Us which received an NAACP Image Award. (I have added this to my to-read shelf)"


I'm glad this was such a powerful experience for you, Crystal. Me, too! Thanks for sharing your thoughts so beautifully. I had never heard of Henry "Box" Brown before, either, so it was especially interesting that his story was chosen as one of those highlighted in the slave narratives performance I saw a few days after reading the book. (Though, as Wilhelmina noted, I can see why it would be so popular!)

I read Just the Two of Us last year and thought it was a very touching book--and, yes, beautifully illustrated! There were a few little things that I wasn't 100% wild about in the text but, overall, it is just a very sweet and loving story about the love between a father and son and I highly recommend it--especially to fans of Kadir Nelson.


message 116: by Wilhelmina (new)

Wilhelmina Jenkins | 231 comments My grandson was six when I read him Henry's Freedom Box, Crystal, but I think that I waited a year before reading it to his class. They were very excited by the escape. I was familiar with the story of Henry "Box" Brown - it's one of the better-known escape stories - but the treatment of the story in this book is just spectacular. I really love Kadir Nelson's illustrations - he's definitely one of my favorites.


message 115: by Crystal (last edited Feb 15, 2011 08:29PM) (new)

Crystal Marcos (CrystalMarcos) | 475 comments Amy wrote: "My 6-year-old son REALLY LIKES Virgie Goes to School (his favorite!) and Moses: When Harriet Tubman Led He People to Freedom. He does not care about historical accuracy or the amount of information..."

I was wondering if I would let a 6 year old read Henry's Freedom Box. I was thinking 6 might be to young.


message 114: by Crystal (last edited Feb 15, 2011 08:27PM) (new)

Crystal Marcos (CrystalMarcos) | 475 comments First off thank you again to the group for introducing wonderful books I may have otherwise never found! I held Henry's Freedom Box in my hands for several minutes after I read it. This isn’t a normal practice for me. I fought back tears and feelings of heartbreak at the same time thinking this was a fabulous book. I felt I was living every moment with Henry on his journey to freedom by mailing himself in a box. Henry was amazing and brave to even have thought of that. It was refreshing to read about the people who helped Henry on his journey, one of them being a white doctor who thought slavery was wrong. I had never heard of Henry “Box” Brown before reading this book and actually thought it was a fiction until I read the inside jacket flap.

The illustrations were superb, using crosshatched pencil lines and applied layers of watercolor and oil paint. So lovely, no wonder it is a Caldecott Honor Book. I learned that Kadir Nelson illustrated Will Smith’s Just the Two of Us which received an NAACP Image Award. (I have added this to my to-read shelf)

I always appreciate when books add additional information and this book provided additional information on Henry and the Underground Railroad. This is a book that makes you think, think about what this man had to go through for freedom and how lucky you are to have been born free.


message 113: by Kathryn, The Princess of Picture-Books (new)

Kathryn | 3146 comments Mod
I finally got to read Virgie Goes to School with Us Boys and I agree that it is an excellent and inspiring story--made all the more powerful by the fact that it's a true story and the author's note at the end was very nice bringing the family history to life. I'm not sure I was quite as moved as some of the other reviews here, but I still really enjoyed the story and appreciated the sentiments expressed. And I agree that it's great for kids today to see how special it is that they have an education so easily available to them-!

This was the last book I had to read of our selections and I am really happy with the breadth of books we read. I appreciated how "Virgie" showed a free African-American family, but in closer proximity to slavery days than the MLK book, for example. It is interesting to see the "progression" (or lack thereof, in some aspects) from Henry and Harriet's days up through MLK's--and then to the family in Full, Full, Full of Love.

I have a few other books out from the library to continue on our theme. I'll most likely post my comments over in our "Master List and General Discussion" thread when the time comes :-) If any of you also plan to read more books than the six selected here, I hope you'll share some feedback there, too!


message 112: by Kathryn, The Princess of Picture-Books (new)

Kathryn | 3146 comments Mod
So happy to see you here in our discussion, Gloria and Cheri!!! I am delighted that you felt inspired to contribute to our discussion (thanks again, Abigail, for your stirring review!) and hope you will continue to enjoy the Picture Book Club :-)

Cheri, I am off to look up As Good as Anybody; sounds great!


message 111: by Cheri (new)

Cheri I wanted to say thanks to Abigail for her thoughts on Martin's Big Words. When I think about reading these books to a group of children, I believe you have to share several of the stories to get a more rounded picture. It is hard for me to say that any picture book can stand alone. It is hard to put all of the struggles into 32 pages. I believe they are introductions, not complete pictures. I enjoyed sharing As Good As Anybody by Richard Michelson and Raul Colon, which has another famous photograph where blacks and whites are walking together. In sharing these books there is a great opportunity to talk about how history is viewed in different ways by different people. Look at Moses - did anyone really know what Harriet Tubman said to God or how God replied? No, but an author who studied her felt that this was such an important part of her life, that the main focus of the book should be her reliance on God. It is perfect for talking about why two stories about the same person can make us feel so differently.


message 110: by Gloria (new)

Gloria | 12 comments Abigail wrote: "Well, after much struggling, I have finally written my review for Martin's Big Words. Unlike some of you, my reaction wasn't overwhelmingly positive. In fact, I found myself disappointed. I put so ..."
This is the first time I have responded directly to a post but I was so moved by your very thoughtful and perceptive review I just had to comment! I haven't read the book yet, but I will for sure now and I will appreciate having your insights to add to my own. I think you should email the author and illustrator, not to complain, but just to get their perspective. I wonder if they even realize...


message 109: by Kathryn, The Princess of Picture-Books (new)

Kathryn | 3146 comments Mod
Chandra wrote: "Agreed and I'm going to make an effort to include a wider range. I already visit the Brown Bookshelf blog regularly and love it!"

Thank you for mentioning this blog, Wilhelmina! As Chandra said, I agree with your post and will eagerly check out that site.


message 108: by Kathryn, The Princess of Picture-Books (new)

Kathryn | 3146 comments Mod
Crystal wrote: "I did like the artwork although a tad on the dark side. I think Martin’s life would have been better depicted in light rather than dark, because he brought so much of it into the world. "

Yes, good point, Crystal! I would have liked more of a blend of light and dark, but I think the author intended for the light with the stained glass windows and the candles; I really appreciated his intention behind those illustrations. I'm so glad you liked this and the Harriet Tubman work so much :-)


message 107: by Kathryn, The Princess of Picture-Books (new)

Kathryn | 3146 comments Mod
Wilhelmina and Gundula, Thank you so much for sharing your thoughts re: Full, Full, Full of Love. I so enjoyed and appreciated your posts! You are sorely tempting me to go out and buy a copy since I can't get it through my library! ;-) I am truly so very, very happy this book was chosen as I felt very strongly about including a book on a contemporary African-American family, especially one enjoying a happy and peaceful life. While I know we can only scratch the surface of these deep and multifaceted issues with our six books each month, I don't think we would have fully honored Black History Month had we neglected to include such a work. I am delighted that the one that was voted for has turned out to be well-liked/loved by many of our members.


message 106: by Gundula (last edited Feb 10, 2011 03:14AM) (new)

Gundula | 2028 comments Wilhelmina wrote: "I realizes that I never commented on Full, Full, Full of Love, but I guess that some of you know that I absolutely love this grandma/grandson book. My grandson and I read it more tim..."

I think that this was/is such a beautiful and joyful book, and one of the reasons I voted for it was precisely because of the fact that it celebrates the African American experience not in terms of oppression, but in terms of a loving family, a family that could be any loving family. My grandmother (in Germany) would make similar weekend feasts for the whole family, and her way of distracting me when I became hungry waiting for dinner was to read classic German children's literature to me (it was one of the things I most missed when we moved to Canada, and it always amazed me that there were kids in my class who complained that they "had to" go to Grandma's for dinner, when I was not able to do that anymore and missed it so).

And, I can relate to your second point as well. So many people (both children and adults) see German history and see the German experience as WWII and the Holocaust, that it is often hard to find English language children's books about Germany etc. which focus on other themes, I have found some, but it generally is very difficult. Thanks for the link you posted, I would really like to be able to find some books on the, as you have stated, joyful side of African American life. Full, Full, Full of Love was such a fun and joyful book, celebrating family and love, I want to find others like it, oh, and you might like the following picture book that I just requested from our library, Up Home, about the author's childhood in North Preston, Novia Scotia (the description sounds lovely, and joyful).


message 105: by Crystal (last edited Feb 09, 2011 10:47PM) (new)

Crystal Marcos (CrystalMarcos) | 475 comments Wilhelmina wrote: "I realizes that I never commented on Full, Full, Full of Love, but I guess that some of you know that I absolutely love this grandma/grandson book. My grandson and I read it more tim..."

Thank you for sharing, Wilhelmina. Your story made me smile. Wonderful to hear that a book holds some of your most precious memories.


message 104: by Wilhelmina (new)

Wilhelmina Jenkins | 231 comments I realizes that I never commented on Full, Full, Full of Love, but I guess that some of you know that I absolutely love this grandma/grandson book. My grandson and I read it more times than I could begin to count, and always ended it cuddling like the grandma and grandson in the book. When my grandson was small, he loved that the grandma in the book wore earrings, a cross, and a bracelet like me and wore a pink top - he always liked me in pink and often gave me pink flowers or a pink picture he had made as gifts. I have no objectivity about this book at all - it's one of the happiest memories of my life.

I was very happy that it was included, because so often children see black history only in terms of oppression. I can't tell you how often I have started a book with my grandson's class in which the first question asked is "Is he dead? Did somebody kill him?" The joyful side of African American life is sadly neglected. For those who are looking for a wider range of books about and by African Americans, I strongly recommend checking http://thebrownbookshelf.com/, especially during February of each year when they focus on a different African American author or illustrator each day. Past years are in the archives. And I can't help mentioning my favorite books about African American life in an earlier generation, Little Cliff and the Porch People and the other Little Cliff books by Clifton L. Taulbert.

Abigail, if you write a book about your father's civil rights experiences, I'll be in line for a copy. I wish him all the best.


message 103: by Crystal (new)

Crystal Marcos (CrystalMarcos) | 475 comments Chandra wrote: "The only book I've been able to get ahold of so far is Moses: When Harriet Tubman Led Her People to Freedom.

First thing I was struck by is what a BEAUTIFUL book this is. It's not..."


I agree with Chandra and the others that thought this book was beautiful!


message 102: by Crystal (new)

Crystal Marcos (CrystalMarcos) | 475 comments Abigail wrote: "Well, after much struggling, I have finally written my review for Martin's Big Words. Unlike some of you, my reaction wasn't overwhelmingly positive. In fact, I found myself disappointed. I put so ..."

Thank you for your post. I was brought to tears while reading it. I agree with what you and others that his appreciation for others who helped should have been acknowledged.

I hope your dad is doing better.


message 101: by Crystal (last edited Feb 09, 2011 07:02PM) (new)

Crystal Marcos (CrystalMarcos) | 475 comments I read both Martin's Big Words: The Life of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. and Moses: When Harriet Tubman Led Her People to Freedom I truly enjoyed both books.

I always appreciate added information in books. So, I found it wonderful to have important dates highlighted and additional MLK information added at the end of the book. After I read the book, I went back and read the author’s and Illustrator’s notes. It was interesting to find out their thoughts on how they approached creating this book. I did like the artwork although a tad on the dark side. I think Martin’s life would have been better depicted in light rather than dark, because he brought so much of it into the world.

All in all, I found it a fair introductory to MLK with much needed discussion from adults. I am not particularly fond of how it ended. I just feel this book was written for a child and there may need to be the explanation of why he was shot. Not just that he was and he died. I know it can be difficult to place one person’s incredible life into a 32 page book. I think with what the artists had to work with they did well.


Moses: When Harriet Tubman Led Her People to Freedom was a moving book to read. I only realized after reading it that it was a fictional story based on true events. I find author’s notes to be just as fascinating as the stories themselves. The illustrations are beautiful and in fact, I went back to the particular page where Harriet’s has an extreme close-up several times to admire it. The artists captured her determination superbly. I enjoyed the story equally as well. It was quite inspiring. I also found it amazing how Harriet made the trip south 19 times and freed so many. Harriet was a very religious woman and this book is quite spiritual.


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Books mentioned in this topic

Virgie Goes to School with Us Boys (other topics)
Full, Full, Full of Love (other topics)
Martin's Big Words: The Life of Dr. Martin LutherKing Jr. (other topics)
Moses: When Harriet Tubman Led Her People to Freedom (other topics)
Henry's Freedom Box (other topics)
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Authors mentioned in this topic

Martin Luther King Jr. (other topics)
Christopher Paul Curtis (other topics)
Clifton L. Taulbert (other topics)