Freedom on the Menu: The Greensboro Sit-INS

Overview

When four courageous black teens sat down at a lunch counter in the segregated South of 1960, the reverberations were felt both far beyond and close to home. This insightful story offers a child's-eye view of this seminal event in the American Civil Rights Movement. Connie is used to the signs and customs that have let her drink only from certain water fountains and which bar her from local pools and some stores, but still . . . she'd love to sit at the lunch counter, just like ...

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Overview

When four courageous black teens sat down at a lunch counter in the segregated South of 1960, the reverberations were felt both far beyond and close to home. This insightful story offers a child's-eye view of this seminal event in the American Civil Rights Movement. Connie is used to the signs and customs that have let her drink only from certain water fountains and which bar her from local pools and some stores, but still . . . she'd love to sit at the lunch counter, just like she's seen other girls do.
Showing how an ordinary family becomes involved in the great and personal cause of their times, it's a tale that invites everyone to celebrate our country's everyday heroes, of all ages.

The 1960 civil rights sit-ins at the Woolworth's lunch counter in Greensboro, North Carolina, are seen through the eyes of a young Southern black girl.

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Editorial Reviews

Publishers Weekly
Weatherford (Remember the Bridge) offers a fresh and affecting interpretation of a pivotal event in the civil rights movement. In 1960, four young black men sat down at a segregated Greensboro, N.C., Woolworth lunch counter and asked to be served, sparking a seven-month long protest in that city and inspiring sit-ins throughout the South. As a prelude, narrator Connie explains that she and her mother would often stop for a snack at the five-and-dime store, standing up as they sipped their sodas "because we weren't allowed to sit at the lunch counter." To bring the event home, Weatherford casts friends of Connie's older brother as the famous Greensboro Four, and later Connie's brother and sister also get involved in the protest. The author uses the wise voices of the girl's parents to address age-appropriate questions (e.g., when Connie says she would be too hungry to wait for hours at the lunch counter, as those four did, her father gently explains, "They didn't really want food.... They wanted to be allowed to get it, same as if they were white. To be treated fairly"). Lagarrigue's (My Man Blue) impressionistic paintings in what appear to be layers of oil paints, capture the story's considerable emotion: the protestors' determination, their opposers' disdain, and Connie's concern and ultimate joy as she, in the finale, digs into a banana split at the Woolworth lunch counter. Together, author and artist translate a complex issue into terms youngest readers can understand, in a resonant meshing of fact and fiction. Ages 5-up. (Jan.) Copyright 2005 Reed Business Information.
School Library Journal
K-Gr 4-Connie likes to shop downtown with her mother. When they feel tired and hot, they stop in at Woolworth's for a cool drink, but stand as they sip their sodas since African Americans aren't allowed to sit at the lunch counter. Weatherford tells the story from the girl's point of view and clearly captures a child's perspective. Connie wants to sit down and have a banana split, but she can't, and she grumbles that, "All over town, signs told Mama and me where we could and couldn't go." When her father says that Dr. King is coming to town, she asks, "Who's sick?" She watches as her brother and sister join the NAACP and participate in the Greensboro, NC, lunch counter sit-ins. Eventually, Connie and her siblings get to sit down at the counter and have that banana split. Lagarrigue's impressionistic paintings convey a sense of history as they depict the pervasive signs of a Jim Crow society. An author's note about the 1960 Greensboro sit-ins concludes the book, pointing out the role young African Americans played in the struggle for civil rights. This book will pair well with Angela Johnson's A Sweet Smell of Roses (S & S, 2005).-Mary N. Oluonye, Shaker Heights Public Library, OH Copyright 2005 Reed Business Information.
Kirkus Reviews
An ordinary African-American girl witnesses extraordinary events in this first-person account of the Greensboro sit-ins of 1960. Eight-year-old Connie lives in a segregated world where she can't use the same public drinking fountains, bathrooms, movie theatres, swimming pools, and lunch counters as whites. Then one day everything changes. Four African-American college boys stage a sit-in at the local Woolworth's lunch counter and Connie anxiously watches history unfold as her own brother and sister join the picketing and sit-ins and protest spreads throughout the South. A long six months later, Connie samples the sweet taste of freedom when she is served a banana split at the same lunch counter. Lagarrigue's somber, somewhat impressionistic paintings capture the dignity and gravity of the times. This quietly moving story pays tribute to the peaceful protesters who did indeed "overcome." (author's note) (Picture book. 5+)
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780803728608
  • Publisher: Penguin Group (USA) Incorporated
  • Publication date: 12/28/2004
  • Pages: 32
  • Sales rank: 733,855
  • Age range: 4 - 6 Years
  • Product dimensions: 10.34 (w) x 9.31 (h) x 0.37 (d)

Meet the Author

Carole Boston Weatherford lives in High Point, North Carolina.

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