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Sit-In: How Four Friends Stood Up by Sitting Down

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It was February 1, 1960.
They didn't need menus. Their order was simple.

A doughnut and coffee, with cream on the side.

This picture book is a celebration of the 50th anniversary of the momentous Woolworth's lunch counter sit-in, when four college students staged a peaceful protest that became a defining moment in the struggle for racial equality and the growing civil rights movement.

Andrea Davis Pinkney uses poetic, powerful prose to tell the story of these four young men, who followed Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.'s words of peaceful protest and dared to sit at the "whites only" Woolworth's lunch counter. Brian Pinkney embraces a new artistic style, creating expressive paintings filled with emotion that mirror the hope, strength, and determination that fueled the dreams of not only these four young men, but also countless others.

40 pages, Hardcover

First published February 3, 2010

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About the author

Andrea Davis Pinkney

58 books294 followers
Andrea Davis Pinkney is the New York Times bestselling author of more than 20 books for children, including the Caldecott Honor Book and Coretta Scott King Honor Book Duke Ellington, illustrated by Brian Pinkney; Let it Shine: Stories of Black Women Freedom Fighters, a Coretta Scott King Honor Book and winner of the Carter G. Woodson Award; and Alvin Ailey, a Parenting Publication Gold medal winner.

Pinkney's newest books include Meet the Obamas and Sojourner Truth's Step-Stomp Stride, which has garnered three starred reviews and has been named one of the "Best Books of 2009" by School Library Journal. In 2010, Andrea's book entitled Sit-In: How Four Friends Stood Up By Sitting Down, was published on the 50th anniversary of the Greensboro, North Carolina, sit-ins of 1960.

Her mother is a teacher and her father is a great storyteller, so growing up surrounded by books and stories is what inspired Andrea Davis Pinkney to choose a career as an author. The first official story she remembers writing was in second grade — it was about her family. Pinkney was born in Washington, D.C., and raised in Connecticut. She went to Syracuse University, where she majored in journalism. After college, she followed her dream and worked as an editor for Essence magazine, but after watching her husband, Caldecott Award-winning artist Brian Pinkney, illustrate children's books, she decided to switch jobs and became involved in book publishing.

Andrea Davis Pinkney currently lives in Brooklyn, New York.

For more information, please see http://www.answers.com/topic/andrea-d...

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5 stars
1,225 (52%)
4 stars
752 (31%)
3 stars
293 (12%)
2 stars
60 (2%)
1 star
22 (<1%)
Displaying 1 - 30 of 376 reviews
Profile Image for Rachael.
480 reviews84 followers
June 30, 2020
Don't treat people like the hole in a donut (i.e. invisible). Don't segregate but integrate.
Another powerful story from Audible's "Hear My Story" collection. "Practising peace while others showed hatred is hard" but this story shows it can be done. A lot has changed since 1960 but more change needs to happen. Below is a recipe for integration from the book. I'm not hiding it as a spoiler because I think we all need to heed the advice.
#antiracist #equality #civilrights #justice #blacklivesmatter

Recipe for integration
1. Start with love.
2. Add conviction
3. Season with hope
4. Extra faith to flavour
5. Mix black people with white people
6. Let unity stand
7. Fold in change
8. Sprinkle with dignity
9. Bake until golden
10. Serve immediately - makes enough for all
Profile Image for Lisa Vegan.
2,748 reviews1,214 followers
April 3, 2011
This history book is a wonderful collaboration by a wife (story) and husband (illustrator) team. It relates the famous occurrence of the four young African-American men, who in 1960 sat down at a Woolworth’s counter and tried to get served at a whites only segregated restaurant, and how their act inspired others to also get involved in the civil rights integration movement, and how they succeeded after a groundswell they helped create. This book was published 50 years after these events. So, I was highly aware that for the children who are the target audience of this book, 50 years ago seems like fairly distant history, and the college students who started this peaceful protest against the status quo of the time and place could seem old, not young. So, it’s impressive that the presentation here is so universally appealing.

From the start, I loved the pictures. They might be my favorite of the picture book illustrations I’ve seen by Brian Pinkney. They’re wonderfully colorful, in an appealing style that helps convey this story, and they’re beautiful, and most importantly they manage to show a fluidity of movement and that is so apropos to the book’s subject matter.

The writing style I vacillated between loving and feeling it didn’t quite work, but overall I thought it was brilliantly engaging and gave a sense of immediacy to these events that happened so long ago. Quotes by Martin Luther King Jr. about peaceful civil disobedience are sprinkled strategically throughout the book. At the end of the book, there is an (also illustrated) civil rights timeline of events that include the Greensboro sit-ins and pertinent things that happened before and after them, a photo of four of the key protestors at the lunch counter on the second day of the sit-ins, and an aptly named For Further Enjoyment page that includes other books and websites too. This book is a wonderful way to teach history and it also serves as a tribute to all those who participated in the civil rights movement, especially the sit-ins circa 1960. The author makes clear that both black and white members of the community were inspired to participate, and it thrillingly tells how they were able to peacefully persevere and eventually succeed in making needed changes.

One of my city’s branch libraries re-opened after a long closure for renovation, and while I was there to check it out, I saw this book on the “new books” shelf and grabbed it; I’m glad that I did.

4 ½ stars
Profile Image for Abigail.
7,088 reviews181 followers
February 3, 2020
Author/illustrator team Andrea Davis Pinkney and Brian Pinkney (also wife and husband), who have collaborated on such titles as Sojourner Truth's Step-Stomp Stride and the 1999 Caldecott Honor Book Duke Ellington: The Piano Prince and His Orchestra , once again turn to the African-American experience in Sit-In: How Four Friends Stood Up by Sitting Down, chronicling the extraordinary story of the four young college students - David, Joseph, Franklin, and Ezell - whose courageous actions, in sitting down at a Woolworth's counter in Greensboro, North Carolina, and calmly waiting to be served, inaugurated the sit-in phase of the Civil Rights Movement, and eventually led to the forming of SNCC (the Student Non-Violent Coordinating Committee).

Told in a distinctively colloquial style - "This was the law's recipe for segregation. It's instructions were easy to follow: Do not combine white people with black people. Segregation was a bitter mix" - that makes use of the language of food (something the students wanted to order) and cooking, and illustrated with Brian Pinkney's energetic watercolor paintings, Sit-In is an immensely effective picture-book history. I appreciated the story, the artwork, and the historical afterword, was glad to see that the involvement of both blacks and whites in the Civil Rights Movement was mentioned, and was happy to learn that the Woolworth's building where the sit-in occurred has been turned into a museum, The International Civil Rights Center and Museum.

All in all, a visually and textually strong book, one I recommend to all young readers interested in this dramatic moment in American history, and in the history of the Civil Rights Movement.
Profile Image for Paul  Hankins.
770 reviews279 followers
January 28, 2012
Celebrate the first day of Black History Month with this picture book that revisits the four young men who sat steadfast at the counter of a Woolworth's sparking a longer, extended sit-in across southern states (the sit-in began February 1st, 1962). Andrea Davis Pinkney and her illustrator husband, Brian Pinkney, take us to the counter with striking illustrations and informative narration which includes a Civil Rights Timeline included at the end of the book.
Profile Image for Ms Threlkeld.
4,275 reviews16 followers
August 18, 2015
"Be loving enough to absorb evil." - MLK, Jr. This picture book tackles an important event in history in a way that is very accessible to young readers. The language is clear, despite some higher level vocabulary and potentially tricky concepts, and the illustrations elevate the text perfectly. The book also includes a brief timeline of the civil rights movement and resources for further learning.
Profile Image for Deb (Readerbuzz) Nance.
5,780 reviews280 followers
June 18, 2020
Four college students sat down at the Woolworth's lunch counter in Greensboro, North Carolina, on February 1, 1960. No one waited on them. All four young men were black, and the lunch counter was segregated. A police officer came, but he could do nothing. Finally the man from Woolworth's closed down the store.

The next day more people came to the lunch counter.

The movement spread to many other cities.

Others responded to the sit-ins with violence. Those who participated in the sit-ins did not react, did not strike back. It took many months, but the lunch counter at Woolworth's in Greensboro was finally desegregated.

An inspiring story of courage and endurance.
Profile Image for Coley Adkins.
35 reviews
September 6, 2015
Beautifully illustrated and written picture book Sit In by Andrea Pinkney has a mixture of poetry and captivating prose. She starts the book with a quote from Dr. Martin Luther King, “We must...meet hate with love”. It then tells the historic adventure of The Greensboro Four, David, Ezell, Joseph and Franklin. Pinkney uses the metaphor “At first they were treated like the hole in a doughnut - invisible”. She then builds upon this metaphor throughout the book. While on their brave journey, Pinkney also teaches vocabulary words such as INTEGRATION and uses the technique of repetition throughout to emphasize her important message. My favorite use of repetition is when she constantly underscores the importance of peaceful protest with the words of Dr. Martin Luther King. By the end of this book, The Four have made an important change in the world thus inspiring others like Rosa Parks. The metaphor she leaves us with is: “A doughnut and coffee, with cream on the side, is not about food - it’s about pride.”
This is a very important “WOW” book to me as it not only explains a truly important part of America’s history but does so in a rhythm of words that captivates her audience. When I read this, I instantly knew it would be perfect to start my Roll of Thunder unit. I always show video clips of the sit-in and The Greensboro Four along with videos of Dr. Martin Luther King’s “Mountain-Top Speech” and I know this will just enhance the lesson. This part of history always evokes an emotional response from my students and propels them to research and search for more information. Mrs. Pinkney’s book is a key starting point for their learning about Civil Rights.
Profile Image for A_Cathi.
18 reviews
June 4, 2012
Greensboro, North Carolina - February 1960 was the beginning of a movement in civil rights by the unwavering patience of four gentlemen who just wanted a doughnut and coffee. What a wonderful way to present this difficult subject with my first grade class. The feeling of being treated like a second class citizen in this country known for its’ equal rights and freedom is what must have led David, Joseph, Franklin and Ezell to follow Dr. Martin Luther King’s wise words. Their decision to sit, and sit some more while waiting for justice and equality was the beginning of a peaceful protest against ignorance and injustice. These young students used their inner strength to fight a demon in their world, and they proved that good can overcome evil.
Pickney’s illustrations flowed from page to page, much like the characters in the book changed from day to day and place to place. The coming together of many people was made more prevalent than the individual person, and the watercolors worked in just that way. The faces would not be made out as a specific individual – but anyone that sat down for equal respect and tolerance. I loved this book and the way the Pickney’s addressed a time in our country that makes me uneasy each time I read or learn more about it.
The timeline at the end would be a perfect way to continue the discussion with the classroom when learning about the Civil Rights Movement. This timeline could most definitely go across grade levels.
Profile Image for Morgan.
15 reviews2 followers
April 8, 2018
Sit-In is an informational book about the Greensboro Four who fought for segregation during the Civil Rights Movement. I would use this for a read-aloud to 3rd-5th grade.
In my future classroom, I would use this book for a civil rights movement week where I could teach the students about that movement, and how these people made a difference in their community and country. I would tie this back to the fact that even they can make a difference, and take action against things they disagree with. Their voice is important, and this book is a great way for students to see that. I could also use this book during black history month, where students can have the chance to learn about those who stood up for their rights. Again, it would be the same concept, but I would be teaching it in a different time period. I also think that even though this is a picture book, it has a complex theme to it which is why I would only read this to 3rd grade and up.
This book is a WOW for me because I found it to be inspirational. I read this book while trying to find books for my re-envisioning project. This book stood out to me because it was really cool to see how even people in North Carolina were fighting for their rights. Whenever I think about Civil Rights Movement, I always think about MLK and Rosa Parks, but it was really cool seeing how even ordinary people were doing extraordinary things in order to make a difference. This is inspirational for me and hopefully to my future students.
8 reviews
April 19, 2018
This informational text tells the story of how four African American college students decide to sit at a lunch counter in Greensboro, NC even though only whites were allowed. Their plan was to stay at the lunch counter until they were served. These four determined students sparked events leading to the civil rights movement for blacks to be treated as equals. I would use this book for 4th grade; it fits perfectly with the North Carolina history.

In my classroom I could use this book when creating a Civil Rights Movement timeline. Many different texts and resources would be included as well. The timeline could also be specific to events that happened in North Carolina. Another idea would be to use this text when demonstrating the BHH Framework. I believe many students would easily be able to relate to this book through their head and their heart. This book could also be used as preparation for a field trip to the North Carolina History Museum. There is a portion of an exhibit dedicated to this event in particular.

This is a wow book for me because it is a about a true historical event that all students need to know about. The civil rights movement is not taught enough in our classrooms; at least this way students are getting a glimpse of what life was like for those of color. I also love how the analogy of the recipe for civil rights relates back to the specifics of the event.
Profile Image for kate and lexi.
58 reviews2 followers
May 4, 2010
This beautifully illustrated book details the famous sit-in at the Greensboro, NC Woolworth's counter in 1960. The prose is moving, speckled with quotes that inspired the protesters and good detail. As a picture book ought to be, it is both easily understood and deep enough for older readers. My kindergartner (who does have some exposure to the civil rights movement) grasped the storyline and was moved by the strength it took to stay still.

The simple, powerful prose is well matched by the illustrations. Watercolor paintings with ink, they come across as modern yet classic, and moving. With a repetitive motif of cooking that might come across a bit strong to some adults, however, I wasn't distracted by it and consider it effective for young readers.

Though graphic about their struggles, the story isn't scary or overwhelming to children. It would work well in any elementary grades, and even in some middle school classrooms. I'd commend it to any family who is building a personal library with any attention to covering American History or Civil Rights.

Kate, age 5 "I like this book, it told about Dr. King and his dreams, and how these boys followed his dreams by sitting at the white skin lunch table. They sat and they sat for a long time. People were mean to them. Now people all sit together. That's why I like this book."
Profile Image for Sheena.
8 reviews
November 4, 2016
This book is a great informational read for elementary students. The author did an excellent job in relying the message in way for young readers to understand. In this story it shares details of how the students in Greensboro, North Carolina developed a sit-in based on Dr. King's words. Throughout the book it shares phrases from Dr. King that the students kept in mind to get the final result they wanted. I appreciate how the book shared facts but did so in a way that is understandable to young readers, with the use of metaphors and pictures. This book would be ideal for students grades 3 and up (maybe even 2nd). A teacher could use this book to teach about the civil rights movement and the use of metaphors. While reading the book the teacher could stop at certain parts of the book to remind students what a metaphor sounds like. Also in teaching about the civil rights movements, particularly the students in North Carolina, the teacher could use this book as a "hook" to get the students attention because this event happened in their own state. Overall, this book is a great quality children's book that teaches about important events in a way that they can understand.
Profile Image for Jessi.
676 reviews13 followers
March 15, 2012
I think this book is a pretty great way to introduce the concept of the civil rights issues of the 1960s to kids. The text is clear and easy to understand, and the ideas come across really well (as opposed to some children's books I've read on the same subject, which can be too wordy or confusing.) Another thing I liked about the book was the fact that important quotes or concepts are featured in bold, colorful print, along with the story:
"We must...meet hate with love."
"If black people and white people could break bread together, everyone would pass the test."
"Practicing peace while others showed hatred was tougher than any school test."
"We must meet violence with nonviolence."
"We are all leaders."
"A double dose of peace, with nonviolence on top. Hold the hate. Leave off the injustice."

Perhaps if we read books like these to our children, we can avoid bringing up another generation of people who use anger and volume to express their opinions.

Profile Image for Elizabeth.
2,002 reviews52 followers
November 29, 2017
“Sit-In: How Four Friends Stood Up By Sitting Down” c)2010 By Andrea Davis Pinkney; Illustrated by Brian Pinkney. The author showed slides of this book at the Wisconsin Library Association Conference in October. I had to read the whole thing! What a beautiful and powerful book about important moments during the civil rights movement. We take so much for granted now but restaurants, schools, businesses, buses, parks, pools and even LIBRARIES in the southern United States were segregated. Thank goodness for the wisdom and courage of so many people who peacefully resisted these restrictions. As a result, President Kennedy asked the American people to consider a change in June of 1963. Then on July 2, 1964 President Lyndon B. Johnson made the Civil Rights Act of 1964 a law. This book teaches great lessons about peaceful protests and how much of a difference even the youngest among us can make.
Profile Image for Elissa Schaeffer.
387 reviews9 followers
May 6, 2016
Four friends sit down at the lunch counter at Woolworth's in Greensboro, NC, ready to place their order. But it's February 1, 1960, and they are black and the counter only serves whites. So they sat, order ready to place, ignored and refused, but never giving up. Inspired by the powerful words of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr., these four sparked a sit-in throughout the country and helped further the peaceful protests against segregation.

It's not often that I feel truly moved by books the way this one moved me. It's not exaggerating to say that goosebumps and tear ducts were involved. Possibly what I appreciated the most was the power given to Martin Luther King's words in how they affected others and moved others to action. Action that took root and spread in the face of terrible mistreatment--such an amazing display of courage and strength of will.

Highly recommended.
Profile Image for Jodi.
1,115 reviews6 followers
January 14, 2018
I loved the lyrical writing of this book, and the food/recipe theme. "A doughnut and coffee, with cream on the side."

It tells the story of the Greensboro sit-ins, and how they sparked more sit-ins around the nation to peacefully protest segregation. I really love how the author put this story together. It's possibly my new favorite historical picture book!

This was good to read after going through "Meet Martin Luther King, Jr." by James T. de Kay. We found so many topics to look up and discovered a wealth of picture books telling the stories. I think picture books can be the best type of book, for any age, to illustrate a time period, person, or event, especially if the words are woven well and the pictures are engaging. While the illustrations in this particular book are not exactly my style, the writing makes up for it and makes this a really beautiful, educational book.
8 reviews
April 19, 2018
This book is packed full of information about the Sit-In at Woolworths in Greensboro NC. Along with the amount of information the incredible illustrations bring the words to life. I think that this informational text book would be good to read aloud to students in grades 4-5 to talk about civil rights and segregation. This topic is one that hits close to home because Greensboro is in North Carolina and the History Museum in Raleigh has an exhibit about it. This book would be great to read before a trip to the history museum to give students background knowledge on what they will see in the museum. The book also has a timeline in the back about Civil Rights movements which can lead to other lessons on those topics such as Rosa Parks, Martin Luther King Jr, and the civil rights act.

Profile Image for Laura.
2,045 reviews41 followers
May 19, 2011
A brightly illustrated and easy-to-understand book about the Civil Rights Movement. While the story begins by focusing on lunch counter sit-ins, it expands to explain Dr. King's message, the foundation of SNCC, and legislative changes. The book also uses an extended metaphor of cooking, which I didn't think was necessary. A recipe for integration is included at the end of the book along with an explicit explanation of why the sit-ins were so important for those who were finally served. A timeline, note from the author, and additional resources are also included, making this a great addition to school and public libraries.
29 reviews
April 15, 2012
This autobiographical picturebook is intended for ages 5-8 years(P). In it the author recounts the story of the 1960 sit-in at the Woolworth's lunch counter.
I gave this book 4 stars. The author uses a series of metaphors to communicate the emotions at the lunch counter that afternoon. Then she carefully places actual quotes from Dr. King's speeches within the text to help explain the protesters motivation to keep peaceful. This book is appropriate for the targeted age group. There are a lot of metaphors, but they are easy to interpret.
This would be a good read aloud book to have on hand when studying the civil rights movement.
This book is available in print.
Profile Image for Heidi.
167 reviews3 followers
March 6, 2010
Grades 3-8
On February 1, 1960, four African American college students started the Greensboro Sit-Ins which led to non-violent protests across the country and integration of public places. This poetic telling of their story is musical and carefully spare, using the metaphor of food and recipes to show how non-violence can lead to change. The illustrations are gestural and springing with hope. The book includes a civil rights timeline, and a "Final Helping," a brief biography of the four students who started it all.
Profile Image for Cara Byrne.
3,092 reviews18 followers
July 26, 2016
"Practicing peace with others showed hatred was tougher than any school test."
A lively, moving, and smart picture book detailing the sit-ins that occurred in the 1960s as part of the Civil Rights movement. Highly recommend for 3rd & 4th grade readers.
Profile Image for Leslie.
1,124 reviews
October 15, 2016
A perfect picture book to spark young readers' interest in learning more about the Civil Rights Movement. Rhythm and colorful illustrations make it work well as a read aloud and lots of facts, quotes and back matter to inspire further investigation.
Profile Image for Kristin Nelson.
987 reviews15 followers
April 7, 2017
I wasn't prepared for the metaphor of a recipe used by the author, but it worked. And I always love a book that includes more historical info. This one even has a timeline!
April 19, 2020
WOW... I chose this book because of its impactful message. This informational text is centered around four young men, David, Joseph, Franklin, and Ezell who sparked a movement nationwide. Due to the COVID-19, I was forced to listen to this book as a read-aloud as I did not have access to a hard copy. This story is written almost in a poetic manner making the story even more beautiful yet somber. Students in different towns all across the South sit-in at local diners. They need no menu, all they ask for a doughnut and coffee. They didn't ask for anything fancy, just equality. Yet, they are treated with immense disrespect and hatred. Ella Baker organized a student conference standing up for nonviolent protest and integration at Shaw University (right down the road for us! How amazing) that eventually captured the attention of President JFK. This became the Civil Rights Act of 1964. These students that dedicated their lives to fighting for what is right and fair finally saw their rewards for their unimaginable work. These young individuals serve as change agents in heroes for our society. I have inserted a quote that is from the story and is incredibly powerful during our history as well as today.
"Be loving enough to absorb evil."
I could integrate this book in many ways into the classroom. In Social Studies, we talk about change agents that formed our world into how it is today. I could use this as an introduction into a deep study on change agents. This book will inspire students and could be used to help students pick their own change agents to research and present on. I could also use this book for small group study or readers workshop. This would be a great book for small groups to read and have meaningful discussions on. They could discuss the author's deeper meaning and study plot, character development, and analysis.

This book is a WOW book for me because of its incredibly powerful message. Furthermore, this book is written as a "recipe" to help students better understand the battle and steps that were taken towards accomplishing integration and equality for all. This allows children to relate to the book and follow sequentially through the events with consistent references to making a recipe. That is a WOW factor for me because of how seamlessly the author integrated this into their writing.
I would use this in Grade 4. Informational Text
Profile Image for Caroline.
1,126 reviews2 followers
September 17, 2020
A terrific history of the Woolworth lunch counter sit in for kids! It covers the event as well as talking about peaceful protest and the effect it had on the civil rights movement. A great intro to civil rights for kids and how ordinary people can make change.
Profile Image for Tena Edlin.
781 reviews
June 9, 2020
Beautiful illustrations and powerful message. Really showed how the courage of a few can spread, grow, and make change.
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