This Is the Dream

( 2 )


"With courage they rallied and answered the call . . . dreaming of freedom and justice for all."

The United States of America was founded on the declaration that all men are created equal. But nearly two hundred years after that proclamation, America was still deeply segregated.

Slowly but surely, powerful leaders as well as everyday citizens spoke up for their dreams and beliefs. Soon, a people proud and strong stood up as one for their ...

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"With courage they rallied and answered the call . . . dreaming of freedom and justice for all."

The United States of America was founded on the declaration that all men are created equal. But nearly two hundred years after that proclamation, America was still deeply segregated.

Slowly but surely, powerful leaders as well as everyday citizens spoke up for their dreams and beliefs. Soon, a people proud and strong stood up as one for their rights, and a new America came to be.

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Editorial Reviews

Booklist (starred review)
“An excellent resource for discussing the changes of the civil rights era.”
From The Critics
Concise and child-friendly, this overview of the civil rights movement helps kids grasp where we were ("These are the buses-a dime buys a ride, but the people are sorted by color inside") and where we are now ("This is the bus that roars through the streets, and all of the passengers choose their own seats"). Empathetic, insightfully painted scenes make both the everyday indignities and the historic events even more palpable. (ages 6 to 9)
The February 2006 issue of Child magazine
Publishers Weekly
Ransome (Satchel Paige) creates a striking juxtaposition of closely focused paintings and collage borders incorporating powerful historical photographs. These images will make a strong impression on readers of this expository chronicle of events preceding, during and following the civil rights movement, as Ransome's artwork makes large ideas comprehensible through visual details. The singsong rhythm and "House-that-Jack-Built" meter creates a chilling contrast to what's going on between the lines: "These are the buses-a dime buys a ride,/ but the people are sorted by color inside." Ransome shows the demarcation of the bus's white and black sections, and in a border across the top creates a collage of stirring portraits. Text and artwork similarly depict segrgated lunch counters, libraries and schools. One of the most powerful spreads portrays three black children stepping into a newly integrated school ("These are the students who step through the doors/ where people of color have not walked before"), Confederate flags flying, while a photocollage on the top edge shows the fractured images of angry white bystanders, effectively emulating a mob mentality. Concluding spreads demonstrate the contrast today, with images of a multiracial array of people waiting to use the same drinking fountain and reciting the Pledge of Allegiance in one voice at school. This will provide a solid springboard for adult-child discussions, especially since younger readers might need help deciphering some of the poetic narrative's references. All ages. (Jan.) Copyright 2005 Reed Business Information.
Children's Literature
From the very first glimpse of the striking end papers, the reader becomes aware that this is a special book about an oft discussed subject. Using a combination of collages of actual photographs from the era of the Civil Rights Movement and paintings that convey visual images that complement and enhance the simple, but powerful text, Ransome has succeeded in turning this picture book into a succinct, compelling history lesson. The authors have used plain, straightforward language (in rhymed couplets) to relate the events of the experience of segregation and the burgeoning Civil Rights Movement. Even young readers will feel the impact of the power of this examination of an extremely emotionally charged time in our nation's history. The heroic grace of " . . . an army without guns, but not without strength . . . " (Martin Luther King, Jr., 1964) is shown with honest empathy. The faces in the photographic collages reveal much about the attitudes of the times. The peaceful protests look all the more powerful when juxtaposed against such ugliness. Some of the strongest leaders of the movement are given a place of honor featuring their portraits, but it is in the faces and actions of the "everyday" people that we see the courage and determination of those who dreamed of " . . . freedom and justice for all." Children will be able to recognize the injustices of racial prejudice and the need for the changes that have slowly approached giving all of our citizens their rightful place in the nation. This is an important addition for any library. 2006, HarperCollins, Ages 5 up.
—Sheilah Egan
School Library Journal
K-Gr 6-A chronicle of the Civil Rights movement presented through lyrical verses and distinguished illustrations. Ransome juxtaposes collaged archival photographs and newspaper clippings with his paintings (he credits Romare Bearden and Robert Rauschenberg as influences). The book opens with an image of two very stark and separate drinking fountains with identifying signs spanning the pages ("These are the fountains/that stand in the square,/and the black-and-white signs/say who will drink where"). Segregated buses, lunch counters, libraries, and schools are followed by a series of paintings of the civil rights heroes who partook in nonviolent protests and boycotts. Each succinct and evocative verse is accompanied by a double-page image. At the book's center are portraits of Ella Baker, Walter White, Thurgood Marshall, and Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr., placed on a black-and-white collage of the masses marching. The corresponding verse reads: "These are the leaders whose powerful voices/lift up the marchers demanding new choices.-" A turn of the page presents paintings of people from diverse racial backgrounds interacting on buses, in restaurants, and in parks. Like Doreen Rappaport's Martin's Big Words (Hyperion, 2001), this book honors our humanity while leading readers through a painful history. Notes at the end by the authors and the illustrator suggest that as a nation we have seen the "power of nonviolent change," but "the journey is not over." A valuable addition to children's literature.-Teresa Pfeifer, Alfred Zanetti Montessori Magnet School, Springfield, MA Copyright 2005 Reed Business Information.
Kirkus Reviews
A soaring tribute to the accomplishments of the Civil Rights Movement in earnest, if sometimes clumsy, verse and mixed-media collage. After opening with a catalog of segregation, from water fountains and busses to schools and libraries, the writers point to the courageous souls who marched across those lines-"These are the passengers, on weary feet / walking until they can choose their own seat"-then close with visions of today's fountains, tables, busses and classrooms open to all. Ransome illustrates these visions, before and after, with painted figures (some recognizable, others generic) against tumultuous backgrounds and borders that incorporate clipped period photos; he then closes with an array of patriotic symbols. Despite a simplistic implication-countered only by a closing note in smaller type that younger readers may very well skip-that the movement's work is done, even children unfamiliar with the struggle's origins and landmark events will come away with profound appreciation for its nonviolent methods, and for its dream of "freedom and justice for all." (Picture book/nonfiction. 7-10)
"An excellent resource for discussing the changes of the civil rights era."
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780060555214
  • Publisher: HarperCollins Publishers
  • Publication date: 12/22/2009
  • Pages: 40
  • Sales rank: 986,416
  • Age range: 4 - 8 Years
  • Product dimensions: 8.20 (w) x 10.70 (h) x 0.30 (d)

Meet the Author

Diane Z. Shore co-authored this is the dream, This Is the Game, and several other children's books. She lives with her family in metro Atlanta, Georgia.

James Ransome's work has appeared in nearly fifty books for children, including the Coretta Scott King Award Book The Creation by James Weldon Johnson and Satchel Paige and Major Taylor: Champion Cyclist, both written by his wife, Lesa Cline-Ransome. His traveling exhibit "Visual Stories" is featured in libraries and museums throughout the country. He lives in Rhinebeck, New York, with his family.

Diane Z. Shore and Jessica Alexander have collaborated on several children's books. One thing they have learned while cowriting stories is that when people join together, they can accomplish great things. Both authors live with their families in metro Atlanta, Georgia. Diane is also the author of This Is the Feast and How To Drive Your Sister Crazy.

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Customer Reviews

Average Rating 5
( 2 )
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Sort by: Showing all of 2 Customer Reviews
  • Anonymous

    Posted January 20, 2008

    Makes the Dream Understood

    This book is a great addition to any classroom. I use this book with grades 3 to 5. It provides a great visual context to our studies of civil rights and Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. The text is understandable to most students, but it is the illustrations that are most valuable. My students are rountinely amazed by the difference in the pictures of the 'separate, but equal' classrooms. This book opens their eyes and minds and always leads to a great class discussion. I have loaned the book to several teachers at my school and all have ended up buying their own copy.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted January 21, 2006

    A Dream Come True

    This Is The dream, by Diane Shore and Jessica Alexander is a history packed book, with an opening statement by Martin Luther King, Jr. that sets the tone for the lesson to come in history. ¿White Only¿, ¿Colored Waiting Room¿, these are the signs that you see in the beginning of this book. It starts with a time when we as a nation were fighting for the basics of equality - the Civil Rights Era, and takes you straight through to today¿s society where the signs that you see are no longer racially motivated. This Is The Dream provides a timeline marking the stages that this nation went through to make civil rights a reality. Reading the text and looking at the pictures, made the struggle seem just a little more tangible for me as an adult, so I can imagine the impact that it will have on the mind of a child. Kids of all ages can and should read this book. I would be remiss if I did not mention the phenomenal illustrations by James Ransome. His pictures are most certainly worth a thousand words. This is The Dream, should be a requirement for all schools. Reviewed By: Eleanor S. Shields, Black Butterfly Review

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