Goin' Someplace Special

Goin' Someplace Special

4.7 4
by Patricia C. McKissack, Jerry Pinkney

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In segregated 1950s Nashville, a young African American girl braves a series of indignities and obstacles to get to one of the few integrated places in town: the public library. See more details below

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In segregated 1950s Nashville, a young African American girl braves a series of indignities and obstacles to get to one of the few integrated places in town: the public library.

Editorial Reviews

Bursting with excitement, 'Tricia Ann pleads with her grandmother to let her go to a place she calls Someplace Special. Mama Frances cautions,"Hold yo' head up and act like you b'long to somebody." When 'Tricia Ann boards a bus and has to walk back to the colored section, readers see why her grandmother was worried. The girl faces several incidents of racism before she finally reaches the sign outside her Someplace Special: "Public Library: All Are Welcome." Luminous watercolors convey 'Tricia Ann's emotional journey in this autobiographical story.
—Kathleen Odean

Publishers Weekly
McKissack draws from her childhood in Nashville for this instructive picture book. "I don't know if I'm ready to turn you loose in the world," Mama Frances tells her granddaughter when she asks if she can go by herself to "Someplace Special" (the destination remains unidentified until the end of the story). 'Tricia Ann does obtain permission, and begins a bittersweet journey downtown, her pride battered by the indignities of Jim Crow laws. She's ejected from a hotel lobby and snubbed as she walks by a movie theater ("Colored people can't come in the front door," she hears a girl explaining to her brother. "They got to go 'round back and sit up in the Buzzard's Roost"). She almost gives up, but, buoyed by the encouragement of adult acquaintances ("Carry yo'self proud," one of her grandmother's friends tells her from the Colored section on the bus), she finally arrives at Someplace Special a place Mama Frances calls "a doorway to freedom" the public library. An afterword explains McKissack's connection to the tale, and by putting such a personal face on segregation she makes its injustices painfully real for her audience. Pinkney's (previously paired with McKissack for Mirandy and Brother Wind) luminescent watercolors evoke the '50s, from fashions to finned cars, and he captures every ounce of 'Tricia Ann's eagerness, humiliation and quiet triumph at the end. Ages 4-8. (Sept.) Copyright 2001 Cahners Business Information.
Children's Literature
'Tricia Ann endures the indignities of segregation in the 1950s South, fortified with the love of her family and friends. As a Negro, she must sit at the back of the bus. Because of Jim Crow laws, she can only sit in the back of the balcony at the theater. When a crowd rushes into a plush downtown hotel following a celebrity, 'Tricia Ann is caught up in the throng—and then thrown out of the all-white establishment. She tolerates all of these insults because she is on her way to Someplace Special. That someplace is full of good things and it welcomes all people. That place is the Public Library. Based on McKissack's early life in Nashville, Tennessee, this is a story about how unfair life can be—and how love and persistence can triumph over injustice. Artwork is rendered in pencil and watercolor on paper by artist Jerry Pinkney, the only illustrator to have won the Coretta Scott King Award four times. 2001, Atheneum Books, $16.00. Ages 4 to 8. Reviewer:Chris Gill
School Library Journal
Gr 3-5-'Tricia Ann's first solo trip out of her neighborhood reveals the segregation of 1950s' Nashville and the pride a young African-American girl takes in her heritage and her sense of self-worth. In an eye-opening journey, McKissack takes the child through an experience based upon her own personal history and the multiple indignities of the period. She experiences a city bus ride and segregated parks, restaurants, hotels, and theaters and travels toward "Someplace Special." In the end, readers see that 'Tricia Ann's destination is the integrated public library, a haven for all in a historical era of courage and change. Dialogue illustrates her confidence and intelligence as she bravely searches for truth in a city of Jim Crow signs. Pinkney re-creates the city in detailed pencil-and-watercolor art angled over full-page spreads, highlighting the young girl with vibrant color in each illustration. A thought-provoking story for group sharing and independent readers.-Mary Elam, Forman Elementary School, Plano, TX Copyright 2001 Cahners Business Information.
Kirkus Reviews
In a story that will endear itself to children's librarians and, for that matter, all library lovers, 'Tricia Ann begs her grandmother to be allowed to go alone to Someplace Special. Mama Frances acquiesces, sending her off with instructions: " �And no matter what, hold yo' head up and act like you b'long to somebody.' " 'Tricia Ann's special place is not revealed until the end, but on the way there, the humiliating racism she encounters on the city bus, in the park, and in a downtown hotel almost causes her to give up. " �Getting to Someplace Special isn't worth it,' she sobbed." When she recalls her grandmother's words: " �You are somebody, a human being-no better, no worse than anybody else in this world,' " she regains the determination to continue her journey, in spite of blatant segregation and harsh Jim Crow laws. " Public Library: All Are Welcome" reads the sign above the front door of Someplace Special; Mama Frances calls it "a doorway to freedom." Every plot element contributes to the theme, leaving McKissack's autobiographical work open to charges of didacticism. But no one can argue with its main themes: segregation is bad, learning and libraries are good. Pinkney's trademark watercolors teem with realistically drawn people, lush city scenes, and a spunky main character whose turquoise dress, enlivened with yellow flowers and trim, jumps out of every picture. A lengthy author's endnote fills in the background for adults on McKissack's childhood experiences with the Nashville Public Library. This library quietly integrated all of its facilities in the late 1950s, and provided her with the story's inspiration. A natural for group sharing; leave plenty of time for the questionsand discussion that are sure to follow. (Picture book. 5-9)

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Product Details

Atheneum Books for Young Readers
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Product dimensions:
8.90(w) x 11.70(h) x 0.50(d)
AD550L (what's this?)
Age Range:
4 - 8 Years

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