Wednesday, January 9, 2013

Nonfiction Wednesday

Inspired by Kid Lit Frenzy's nonfiction challenge, I'm increasing my nonfiction reading this year.  Head on over to her blog if you haven't already; she posted new 2013 titles today, one of which I'm reviewing here!

My concentration this past week was to preview books I might use in my upcoming Civil Rights unit.  Here is what I read:
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Beautiful paintings and interesting biography by Kadir Nelson. I would like to share it with my 4th graders during our upcoming Civil Rights unit to compare Mandela with Martin Luther King, Jr.  Speaking of Martin Luther King, Jr........
I Have a Dream  I Have a Dream by Martin Luther Kings, Jr., paintings by Kadir Nelson
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Nelson takes part of Martin Luther King, Jr.'s inspirational "I Have a Dream" speech and accompanies it with breathtaking paintings. He's able to capture the spirit of King's ideas in stunning visuals. I love that the book includes a CD of the speech in its entirety. The whole speech is also written at the back of the book. Every time I read or hear it, it sends chills through me.

Kadir Nelson also illustrated Henry's Freedom Box by Ellen Levine Henry's Freedom Box
I reviewed this title in the summer:

 This is the true story of Henry "Box" Brown, who mailed himsef to freedom from Richmond, Virginia to Philadelphia in 1849. This would be a great discussion book about what the idea of freedom compels people to do. This is also a great book to use for symbolism.


Through My Eyes: Ruby Bridges  Through My Eyes by Ruby Bridges
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This is the story of Ruby Bridges told by Ruby Bridges. Once again, after reading several stories about the civil rights movement in the last few days and children's roles in it, I'm amazed by the courage it took for those children and their families to stand up for what was right. In this story, I'm also inspired by Mrs. Henry, Ruby's teacher, who continued to teach her even when she was the only one in her class. The photographs are fascinating, disturbing, and inspiring. It's hard to believe that there was a time when white people were threatened by that beautiful little girl. I liked reading about Norman Rockwell, Eleanor Roosevelt, John Steinbeck, and John F. Kennedy and how they participated in Ruby's life. Also, as in the other stories, I'm inspired by the faith shown by participants in the movement. I love this quote by Bridges: "I now know that experience comes to us for a purpose, and if we follow the guidance of the spirit within us, we will probably find that the purpose is a good one." Prayer got her through those dark days at William Frantz Public School, and continues to guide her today.

Little Rock Girl 1957: How a Photograph Changed the Fight for Integration Little Rock Girl 1957: How a Photograph Changed the Fight for Integration by Shelley Tougas

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I loved the end of this book when it described Melba Pattillo Beals returning to Little Rock's Central High 40 years after the conflict and being greeted by the president of the student body who was black. She said, "This was why I had endured all the pain and physical punishment - so this boy could stand there and say that. It was amazing." That gave me chills. It was sad, though, that the reconciliation between Elizabeth Eckford and Hazel Bryan Massey, of the infamous photograph, didn't last. I liked reading about the lives of the nine - they all became highly educated and successful. I'm going to read this aloud and then pair it with Lions of Little Rock, which is going to be our historical fiction read aloud during our civil rights unit. I think it's fascinating to learn about how photographs impact a culture. Maybe we'll take a look at other famous photos and write about them.

We've Got a Job: The 1963 Birmingham Children's March

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Cynthia Levinson talks about this book trailer on her website,  put together by fourth graders:


This is an incredible book for middle grades and up about the fight for civil rights in 1963, led by children. As I read, I was continually amazed by the bravery, sacrifice, and devotion shown by the children featured and their families. I also think it's astounding the commitment most if them made to nonviolence as taught by Martin Luther King, Jr. I think my students will learn a ton about this time period, and I'm excited to pair it up with The Watson's Go To Birmingham. Lots of information is in this book about many of the events I want to cover with other historical fiction novels, too - school integration, diner counter sit-ins, Freedom Riders, public pool and park integrations, the church bombing, etc. I wish I had a copy of this book for all my students. It shows the power children have to change the world!
When Thunder Comes: Poems for Civil Rights Leaders


1 comment:

  1. I love so many of these books. Thanks for sharing.