Unknown Books? - Let's Read Them Club! discussion

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Monthly Book Reads > September 2012: Prejudiced Themed Books Discussion Board

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message 1: by Ronyell (new)

Ronyell (rabbitearsblog) | 492 comments Mod
Hello! Here are the winners for the Prejudiced themed picture book discussion for September:

Ron's Big Mission by Rose Blue Ron's Big Mission by Rose Blue

Squanto And The First Thanksgiving (Rabbit Ears A Classic Tale) by Eric Metaxas Squanto And The First Thanksgiving by Eric Metaxas

Yours for Justice, Ida B. Wells The Daring Life of a Crusading Journalist by Philip Dray Yours for Justice, Ida B. Wells: The Daring Life of a Crusading Journalist by Philip Dray

Feel free to discuss about what you loved or hated about these books!


message 2: by Ronyell (new)

Ronyell (rabbitearsblog) | 492 comments Mod
I enjoyed Ron's Big Mission and Yours for Justice the best!


message 3: by Manybooks (new)

Manybooks Rose Blue and Corinne J. Naden's picture book Ron's Big Mission, a fictionalised account of a real incident in space shuttle astronaut Ron McNair's childhood (Ron McNair was one of the seven astronauts who lost their lives in the 1986 Challenger explosion), shows how a simple, non-violent act of civil protest and courage against racially discriminatory regulations (and by a nine year old child, at that) can challenge racist attitudes, can change unjust and discriminatory rules and regulations. I really enjoyed the narrative, the flow of this inspiring story; it is both engaging and informative, without being neither too melodramatic nor drily factual. Ron's Big Mission is also a loving and beautiful tribute to Ron McNair, who dreamed of becoming a pilot, an astronaut, and who made this dream start to come true one day in 1959, when he boldly and confidently challenged the racially discriminatory policies of his local public library, making people acknowledge and accept that all library patrons should be allowed to have a library card and be permitted to sign out books.

It is interesting how a number of Lake City, South Carolina's white citizens, like Mrs. Fielding, for example, seem to be somewhat in agreement with Ron that the regulations not allowing African Americans to sign out library books are wrong and discriminatory, as they try to circumvent, to work around the rules by offering to sign out books for him. However, as positive, as caring as this might seem, Ron remains determined to obtain his very own library card (circumventing, working around discriminatory laws and rules might work as a temporary fix, but will not change the actual regulations, which remain in place and on the books). Ron refusing to budge (even after the police has been called) finally causes Mrs. Scott, the librarian, to walk into her office and fill out a library card for him; the discriminatory regulations not allowing African Americans to sign books out of the library have not only been challenged, they have now been successfully challenged.

While, of course, it is Ron who originally challenges the discriminatory library rules of Lake City, standing up for what should be basic human rights (literally, as he is standing on top of the library circulation desk), the role played by the librarian should also not be forgotten. For it is Mrs. Scott who gives the discriminatory library rules their coup de grace by actually giving Ron McNair his very own library card. From now on, all library patrons, regardless of background or ethnicity, will be allowed to sign out books, will be permitted to take books home from the library.

I'm a bit torn with regard to Don Tate's illustrations. I think that the colour scheme used and the general depiction of the surroundings (buildings, cars, books, airplanes etc.) are descriptive, evocative and well executed, but that with Tate's human figures, the heads at times seem somewhat too large and round for the bodies (especially Ron and one of the policemen appear to have rather balloon-like heads balanced on very pencil-thin necks). I still quite enjoyed the illustrations and believe that they, for the most part, complement and mirror the narrative, but that some of the human figures do seem somewhat disproportionate.

Finally, I really appreciate the fact that while the text of Ron's Big Mission focuses on a particular episode in Ron McNair's childhood, the excellent author's note at the back of the book provides additional information, including the fact that Ron McNair was one of the Challenger astronauts. This way, parents reading Ron's Big Mission with or to their children have the option of discussing Ron McNair's career as an astronaut and the Challenger tragedy, or perhaps, simply focusing on the narrative itself and leaving that part for later, or for when their children are a bit older.


message 4: by Ronyell (new)

Ronyell (rabbitearsblog) | 492 comments Mod
Gundula wrote: "Rose Blue and Corinne J. Naden's picture book Ron's Big Mission, a fictionalised account of a real incident in space shuttle astronaut Ron McNair's childhood (Ron McNair was one of the seven astron..."

Awesome review Gundula! I was truly moved by the scene where Ron stands up for himself by trying to get a library card from the library, despite the rules about African Americans not being allowed to own a library card. I think that there needs to be more books like this that teaches children about standing up for what they believe in.


message 5: by Manybooks (new)

Manybooks Ronyell wrote: "Gundula wrote: "Rose Blue and Corinne J. Naden's picture book Ron's Big Mission, a fictionalised account of a real incident in space shuttle astronaut Ron McNair's childhood (Ron McNair was one of ..."

I think both Ron and the librarian are heroes because if Mrs. Scott had not gone and made a library card for Ron, nothing much would have changed. Ron stood up (and on the front desk of the library), but Mrs. Scott the librarian also played her part.


message 6: by Ronyell (new)

Ronyell (rabbitearsblog) | 492 comments Mod
Gundula wrote: "Ronyell wrote: "Gundula wrote: "Rose Blue and Corinne J. Naden's picture book Ron's Big Mission, a fictionalised account of a real incident in space shuttle astronaut Ron McNair's childhood (Ron Mc..."

I agree. It was brave of Mrs. Scott to defy the laws of the library just to give Ron his own library card. I think both characters really shown true courage in a turbulent time of history.


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