K-Gr 3A young African-American woman reminisces about a memorable incident from her Mississippi childhood in the 1960s. When a lawyer addressed a local gathering looking for volunteers to register to vote, the girl's grandfather was the only one to step forward. That same day he had impressed upon her the importance of going to school, telling her, "I want you to learn as much as you can so when you grow up, you can choose what you want to do. I didn't have that choice." Readers are told why the man's actions were dangerous, how his livelihood was threatened because he wished to exercise his constitutional right, and how his granddaughter's life was affected by his bravery. The text explains a complex social and political situation in a manner that children can understand. The illustrations are done in rich, deep tones of browns, greens, and black. The grandfather is portrayed as a man of great wisdom and dignity, reminding the girl to press on even in the face of danger. A lovely, intelligent look at a chapter of American history.Carol Jones Collins, Montclair Kimberley Academy, NJ
A sensitive effort from Mitchell (Uncle Jed's Barbershop, 1993), about a courageous man in the segregated South who steadfastly pursued a goal (in this case, the right to vote), creating a legacy of pride and hope for the young girl who tells his story. Although the language is simple and straightforward, readers will require some background to understand how Jim Crow laws effectively disenfranchised Southern blacks for nearly a century after the passage of the 15th Amendment. With robust paintings by Johnson, the book will be instructive for thoseof every agewithout a clear understanding of how dearly won are rights they may take for granted.