595AJ__Margaret's Reviews > A Sweet Smell of Roses

A Sweet Smell of Roses by Angela Johnson
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's review
Feb 28, 2011

really liked it
bookshelves: historical-fiction

A Sweet Smell of Roses, by Angela Johnson, is the story about two young sisters who sneak out of their house to join the march for the Civil Rights Movement and to hear Martin Luther King Jr. speak. The text in this story is simple yet powerful and gives a child’s perspective of what it was like to be part of such an important and historical moment in our country’s history. The realistic charcoal illustrations, with an occasional splash of red, are what really make this story come to life. They effectively capture the excitement, fear, perseverance and determination of the demonstrators. Throughout the story there is reference to “a sweet smell of roses.” This sentiment captures the idea that, despite all of the chaos, something wonderful and beautiful is about to happen. The children smell the roses as they wait for Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. to speak and even as they march past the people, who scream, shout and say, “You are not right. Equality can’t be yours.” I would recommend this story for grades K-4. The story does a wonderful job of bringing history to life and would help to enhance the students’ understanding of this famous event in our history.

Related Texts:

Freedom on the Menu: The Greensboro Sit-Ins, by Carole Boston Weatherford

Martins Big Words: The Life of Dr. Martin Luther King Jr., by Doreen Rappaport
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