Grandmama's Pride

Grandmama's Pride

4.5 2
by Becky Birtha, Colin Bootman

Every summer Sarah Marie visits her Grandmama who lives in the south. She doesn't realize how segregated the south is because Grandmama is too proud to put up with those things. They walk to town instead of sitting in the back of the bus.  See more details below


Every summer Sarah Marie visits her Grandmama who lives in the south. She doesn't realize how segregated the south is because Grandmama is too proud to put up with those things. They walk to town instead of sitting in the back of the bus.

Editorial Reviews

Children's Literature
This picture book about what it was like for African-Americans in the segregated south is particularly well done. Before young Sarah Marie learns to read the notorious "whites only" signs, she is told that picnic lunches for trips south to visit Grandmama are better than lunch counter meals, that seats in the back of the bus are roomier, and that water coolers are off-limits because of germs. Sarah Marie's innocence is lost when she learns to read and discovers the truth. The lazy summer days of her childhood are effectively set against a dark undercurrent of prejudice. Soft Pinckney-like watercolor illustrations are appealing, and the bright colors in the girls' dresses and hair bows stand out clearly against drab gray and brown scenes where the children are excluded. Heads held proudly, the family walks downtown, and we see the chiseled, anonymous faces of white patrons at forbidden locales in the background. Irony is evident in the American flag beside the post office as the family walks past a "whites only" water cooler. The book ends on a hopeful note as Sarah Marie describes changes brought about by the Civil Rights Movement. This moving story of one African-American family's struggle to maintain their dignity is especially timely in light of Rosa Park's recent death. Includes an author's note. 2005, Albert Whitman & Co, Ages 5 to 8.
—Quinby Frank
School Library Journal
Gr 2-4-A 1956 summer visit to their grandmother's home exposes two African-American girls to segregation and prejudice unlike anything they have experienced in the North. As they travel south by bus, their mother explains that the best seats are at the back. At a rest stop, most travelers head for the lunch counter, but Mama reminds her daughters that she has packed them a delicious lunch. When they arrive at their destination, six-year-old Sarah Marie notices the two separate waiting rooms and wonders why her grandmother is waiting in the one without seats. The gentle tone of Birtha's writing reflects the quiet dignity with which the adults in Sarah Marie's family meet the indignities of Jim Crow laws. When they return the following summer, the Supreme Court has desegregated the schools, buses, and public places. The strong, sensitive writing is enhanced by beautiful watercolor paintings filled with chips of light. This story will generate discussions on a range of topics including racial segregation, bullying, and self-respect.-Mary Hazelton, Elementary Schools in Warren & Waldoboro, ME Copyright 2005 Reed Business Information.
Kirkus Reviews
Young African-American Sarah Marie travels by bus from her Northern home to the South to visit her proud grandmother, both before and after segregation. Her first-person narrative conveys wide-eyed wonder, and each of the superbly detailed watercolor illustrations is a short story in itself. Sarah Marie and her little sister experience the fun of making paper dolls and playing on a rope swing and sewing with Grandmama and their Aunt Marie, but also visit a lunch counter and bus station torn by segregation. When she returns a year later, the separate bus station bathrooms have been eliminated and Grandmama's public face changed from a proud scowl to a warm smile. Bittersweet nostalgia and a gentle introduction to an important and painful piece of our national past. A lengthy author's note gives the story a helpful historical context. (Picture book. 7-10)

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Product Details

Whitman, Albert & Company
Publication date:
Sales rank:
Product dimensions:
10.90(w) x 8.60(h) x 0.50(d)
AD720L (what's this?)
Age Range:
7 - 10 Years

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Grandmama's Pride 4.5 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 2 reviews.
Melissa_L More than 1 year ago
Grandmama's Pride is a truly wonderful book. It describes the events in the eyes of a six year old girl, Sarah Marie as she visits her grandmama in the south. It is 1956 and segregation is still a huge issue for African Americans. The little girl is unable to read at first and doesn't realize the signs that allow only whites to use the better facilities including drinking fountains and sitting in the front of the bus.Her grandmama just tells her that they have two good feet for walking and better food at home. However, Aunt Maria teaches her to read and suddenly realizes what all of the different signs say. She learns that some people are hateful and do not understand equality. The next summer things are very different and Sarah Marie is very happy to be able to sit at restaurants and use the same nicer bathrooms as the whites. This is an extraordinary illustrated story that would be a great starter to teach young children about segregation and the way things used to be only about 50 years ago.
Guest More than 1 year ago
This book describes the feelings of those victimized of racism through the eyes of an African-American six year old girl. This would be a great introduction to students when teaching about the times of segregation during the 1950's. Plus, the illustrations are beautiful.