Linda Brown, You Are Not Alone: The Brown V. Board of Education Decision

Overview

When the Supreme Court decision to desegregate public schools was handed down in 1954, the course of American history was forever changed. Here are personal reflections, stories, and poems from ten of today's most accomplished writers for children, all young people themselves at the time of the Brown v. Board of Education decision. Included are Michael Cart, Jean Craighead George, Eloise Greenfield, Lois Lowry, Katherine Paterson, Ishmael Reed, Jerry Spinelli, Quincy Troupe, Joyce Carol Thomas, and Leona Nicholas...
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Overview

When the Supreme Court decision to desegregate public schools was handed down in 1954, the course of American history was forever changed. Here are personal reflections, stories, and poems from ten of today's most accomplished writers for children, all young people themselves at the time of the Brown v. Board of Education decision. Included are Michael Cart, Jean Craighead George, Eloise Greenfield, Lois Lowry, Katherine Paterson, Ishmael Reed, Jerry Spinelli, Quincy Troupe, Joyce Carol Thomas, and Leona Nicholas Welch. With a compelling introduction by editor Joyce Carol Thomas and stunning pastel artwork by Curtis E. James, this collection celebrates the hard-earned promise of equality in education.

A collection of personal reflections, stories, and poems from ten well-known children's authors, who were themselves young people in 1954 when the Supreme Court handed down the decision to desegregate public schools.

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Editorial Reviews

The Washington Post
A compelling but uneven collection...The best contributions include Jerry Spinelli's Wonamona, Thomas's Stormy Weather and Leona Nicholas Welch's My Dear Colored People.Nia-Malika Henderson
Publishers Weekly
To mark the 50th anniversary of the pivotal 1954 Supreme Court ruling, Thomas (I Have Heard of a Land) gathers candid writing by 10 authors who collectively lay bare the profound, complex consequences of the decision. Their personal reminiscences capture a spectrum of powerfully expressed emotions, chief among them anger at the injustice they experienced or witnessed, regret and even shame at having felt hopeless to change the same or being blind to its prevalence. Jerry Spinelli poignantly recounts his friendship with the African-American neighbor he met in the summer of 1954, as they were both about to enter fifth grade; Eloise Greenfield's poem "Desegregation" captures, in 17 lines, the hopes and fears for the country through the eyes of a child. Quincy Troupe and Ishmael Reed each articulately address the court ruling's paradoxical negative repercussions on all-black cultural landmarks and institutions. Thomas's own poem takes one man's act of prejudice against her family and transforms it into a spiritual experience for all present. Providing a fitting finale is Leona Nicholas Welch's recreation of her graduation from the only Catholic "colored" high school in Mobile, Ala., conducted by a white bishop who addressed the students as "My dear colored people." Welsh concludes, "The bishop had come to remind us of what color we were. In actuality, he had only given us the impetus we needed to go show the world our true colors." Making a strong children's book debut, James's closely focused, lifelike pastel illustrations feature striking portraits and memorable images. Ages 10-up. (Dec.) Copyright 2003 Reed Business Information.
Children's Literature
A perfect book for Black History Month is Linda Brown, You Are Not Alone. Edited by Joyce Carol Thomas, this anthology gathers 11 reflective pieces by children's authors (black and white) who were children when the U.S. Supreme Court handed down its landmark decision calling for school desegregation. Looking back 50 years, the authors give a sense of how their lives changed with the Brown vs. Board of Education decision. In "Wonamona," Newbery Medalist Jerry Spinelli affectionately remembers an African American schoolmate who wanted to be called by his African name. Washington author Eloise Greenfield's poem "Desegregation" recalls her refusal to back down before the glaring, shouting crowds: "We hold our heads up,/Hold our tears in." Illustrator Curtis James beautifully limns these brave children. Thomas provides important historical context with an introduction and essay entitled "Who is Linda Brown?" 2003, Jump at the Sun/Hyperion, Ages 10 up.
—Mary Quattlebaum
School Library Journal
Gr 6 Up-Through poems, personal stories, and essays, contemporary children's book authors reflect on the impact of the Brown v. Board of Education decision 50 years ago. Ishmael Reed talks about how integration has been a mixed blessing within the black community. Lois Lowry shares a story about slurping spaghetti and reading stories with a black child who can't read during three summers in the 1960s. Katherine Paterson relates her own experience with racism as a "white foreigner" born in China. James's detailed, full-color illustrations capture the solidarity of African Americans as well as their sadness. These poignant pictures will attract a younger audience of readers, but without a glossary to define such terms as "model minority" or "white flight," many concepts will be lost on them. Some of the selections seem to be written with an adult audience in mind, and some are only tangentially related to the court decision. An additional purchase.-Kelly Czarnecki, Bloomington Public Library, IL Copyright 2003 Reed Business Information.
Kirkus Reviews
A nuanced collection thoughtfully commemorates, rather than celebrates, the 50th anniversary of the landmark Brown v. Board of Education decision. Each piece, by a luminary who was young in 1954, offers a piercing glimpse into black-white relations, and the best carry that glimpse forward to today. While no part of this collection falls flat, some are more effective than others. Katherine Paterson and Jean Craighead George search their own souls, writing honestly about their responses as white women to Brown. Quincy Troupe and Ishmael Reed offer angrier and more political essays, the former recalling his own experience as a minority black student in a newly desegregated white high school, and the latter mourning the loss of the black community institutions that had been fostered by segregation. No one has the temerity to claim that Brown was a cure-all for our nation's ills; perhaps this offering's greatest strength for young readers is the sense that Brown was part of a historical process-and so, now, are they. (Anthology. 10+)
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780786808212
  • Publisher: Disney-Hyperion
  • Publication date: 12/28/2003
  • Edition description: 1ST
  • Pages: 136
  • Age range: 9 - 12 Years
  • Lexile: 560L (what's this?)
  • Product dimensions: 6.37 (w) x 9.25 (h) x 0.50 (d)

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