Birtha, Becky Grandmama’s Pride PICTURE BOOK. 25 pgs. Albert Whitman (HarperCollins), 2005-Original 2017-Reprint. $18.00
This is the story of a young girl in the late 1950’s/early 1960’s who travels with her mom and her sister to visit her Grandmama. They live in the north and their Grandmama lives in the highly segregated south. The girls are shielded by their mother and Grandmama from the injustice in a variety of ways such as packing a lunch because they won’t be allowed to eat at the deli counter. When the girl learns to read over the course of the summer, the segregation and her Grandmama’s stand against it are revealed to her. Features dark washed watercolor illustrations which have a dated feel, perhaps the look the illustrator was going for.
This is a fantastic story which resonated highly with our African American school principal who was a girl during this time period and experienced many of these things. I love the quiet protest of the Grandmama (who won’t even ride the bus if she has to sit in the back but tells the girls she just likes to walk), as well as the protective nature of the older women towards the girls. The young girl learning to read shows curiosity about the situation and grows indigent at the injustice, which is the same things students will experience when they learn about this time period. The book is perfect for elementary readers of all ages, as older and younger students can learn different things from the same text. The illustrations are not my favorite, because a student wouldn’t be drawn to reading this on their own, its sort of dreary looking.
EL(K-3), EL –ESSENTIAL Reviewer: Stephanie Elementary School Librarian & Author.