Child of the Civil Rights Movement

Child of the Civil Rights Movement

4.6 5
by Paula Young Shelton, Raul Colon
     
 

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In this Bank Street College of Education Best Children's Book of the Year, Paula Young Shelton, daughter of Civil Rights activist Andrew Young, brings a child’s unique perspective to an important chapter in America’s history. Paula grew up in the deep south, in a world where whites had and blacks did not. With an activist father and a community of

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Overview

In this Bank Street College of Education Best Children's Book of the Year, Paula Young Shelton, daughter of Civil Rights activist Andrew Young, brings a child’s unique perspective to an important chapter in America’s history. Paula grew up in the deep south, in a world where whites had and blacks did not. With an activist father and a community of leaders surrounding her, including Uncle Martin (Martin Luther King), Paula watched and listened to the struggles, eventually joining with her family—and thousands of others—in the historic march from Selma to Montgomery.

Poignant, moving, and hopeful, this is an intimate look at the birth of the Civil Rights Movement.

Editorial Reviews

Publishers Weekly
In her debut picture book, Shelton, a daughter of Andrew Young (activist, politician, and former U.N. ambassador), taps into her memories and those of her father, two older sisters, and others to offer a child's perspective of “the family of the civil rights movement.” She recalls her parents, native Southerners, moving their family from New York to Georgia to help combat erupting racial violence (“At first, I thought Jim Crow was a big black crow/ that squawked whenever a black person/ tried to get a good seat”). Shelton smoothly threads together personal anecdotes: being turned away from a restaurant; listening from under the table as her parents, Martin Luther King Jr., and other activists gather (“With everyone trying to talk at once,/ I thought they sounded just like/ instruments tuning up before a concert”); and participating as a four-year-old in the Selma-Montgomery march. Colón's (As Good as Anybody) soft-focus art features his customarily rich textural backdrop of speckles, scratches, and waves. Both contributors evoke the drama and emotion of the times (while avoiding the violence) and a triumphal sense of community and family. Ages 4–8. (Dec.)
School Library Journal
K-Gr 3—When the author was a child, her father, Andrew Young, was a leader in the Civil Rights Movement. Her first picture book beautifully captures her childhood during those events that radically changed America. One episode recalls Shelton's unique contribution to the integration of restaurants. When white owners refused to seat her family, Shelton sat down and cried loudly, an action she calls "my very first protest, my own little sit-in." With this incident, she helps modern children understand the hurtful effects of segregation. Shelton also recalls how the movement united its leaders. The Youngs, the Kings, and other activists became like family because they "were brought together by a common goal." This positive tone prevails throughout the book, which ends with the passage of the Voting Rights Act of 1965. Colón's luminous watercolors effectively underscore the text's optimistic viewpoint, imbuing scenes of struggle with light that represents the activists' hope for positive results. The book therefore balances honesty about the challenges of the movement with the hope that inspired activists to continue their efforts. An author's note explains how Shelton does not always remember conversations verbatim, but draws on her family's shared memories. The back matter includes information about the leaders who are mentioned. History comes alive in this vivid account.—Mary Landrum, Lexington Public Library, KY
Kirkus Reviews
Civil rights can be a difficult topic, even for adults, so finding simple language to explain the complexity of injustice and oppression to children is challenging. Shelton, daughter of Andrew Young, accepts the challenge and rises to meet it, approaching the topic from the point of view of the child she was in the '60s: a four-year-old girl living in the midst of the leaders who helped change the nation. While the linked free-verse poems appropriately omit potentially confusing information, they introduce readers to her parents' friends-activists such as Martin Luther King Jr., Dorothy Cotton and Ralph Abernathy. The author's language can pack a punch, as when she describes her parents' moving the family from New York "back to Georgia, / back to Jim Crow, / where whites could / but blacks could not." Colon's illustrations are exceptional in their use of color and texture to convey emotions and situations. Thumbnail biographies of the leaders introduced demonstrate that their activism did not end after the Voting Rights Act, which concludes this account. Essential. (bibliography) (Picture book/memoir. 4-9)
From the Publisher
Starred Review, Booklist, February 1, 2010:
"The daughter of civil rights leader Andrew Young remembers her family’s active role in the civil rights movement, beginning when she was four years old...Many adults will want to talk about their memories of the time, and kids will appreciate the child’s intimate viewpoint of world-changing history."

Starred Review, School Library Journal, December 2009:
"History comes alive in this vivid account.”

Starred Review, Kirkus Reviews, November 15, 2009:
“Civil rights can be a difficult topic, even for adults, so finding simple language to explain the complexity of injustice and oppression to children is challenging. Shelton, daughter of Andrew Young, accepts the challenge and rises to meet it...Essential.”

Review, Publishers Weekly, November 23, 2009:
“Both contributors evoke the drama and emotion of the times...and a triumphal sense of community and family.”

Children's Literature - Elizabeth Fronk
Two parents decide to return with their three daughters to the Deep South during the time of the Freedom Riders, the early 1960s, returning to Georgia where Jim Crow laws exist. The family tests these laws by going to a Holiday Inn restaurant where they are refused entry. Despite the little girl's cries and her mother's pleas, the restaurant staff turns them away. "Uncle Martin" and the girl's father work together for the civil rights movement. Shelton, the author/narrator of this account, is Andrew Young's daughter, and she reveals a child's perspective of this historic time in American history. Her gentle and poetic words deftly accompany the pencil drawings, whose soft colors show warm scenes of a child being held or carried while balancing the serious events happening. An endnote provides more detail about the people mentioned in the book and sources that were used. Although the vocabulary makes this book a wonderful early elementary choice, the information at the end could also be read by middle school readers. Shelton's unique perspective and concise writing give an understanding glimpse into the significant events of the Civil Rights Movement. Reviewer: Elizabeth Fronk

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Product Details

ISBN-13:
9780385376068
Publisher:
Random House Children's Books
Publication date:
07/23/2013
Pages:
48
Sales rank:
619,965
Product dimensions:
8.30(w) x 10.70(h) x 0.20(d)
Lexile:
AD960L (what's this?)
Age Range:
4 - 8 Years

What People are saying about this

From the Publisher
Starred Review, Booklist, February 1, 2010:
"The daughter of civil rights leader Andrew Young remembers her family’s active role in the civil rights movement, beginning when she was four years old...Many adults will want to talk about their memories of the time, and kids will appreciate the child’s intimate viewpoint of world-changing history."

Starred Review, School Library Journal, December 2009:
"History comes alive in this vivid account.”

Starred Review, Kirkus Reviews, November 15, 2009:
“Civil rights can be a difficult topic, even for adults, so finding simple language to explain the complexity of injustice and oppression to children is challenging. Shelton, daughter of Andrew Young, accepts the challenge and rises to meet it...Essential.”

Review, Publishers Weekly, November 23, 2009:
“Both contributors evoke the drama and emotion of the times...and a triumphal sense of community and family.”

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