Tuesday, September 2, 2014

A Picture Book a Day for a Year: Day 136

Picture Book: Ruth and the Green Book

Author: Calvin Alexander Ramsey with Gwen Strauss

Illustrator: Floyd Cooper

Summary: Ruth is excited because she and her parents are driving from Chicago to Alabama to visit her grandmother. It is the 1950’s so before the trip, Ruth’s mother spends days cooking meals knowing there will be few restaurants willing to serve Negros. As they are rejected from various gas stations, hotels, and restaurants and spend the night in their car, they eventually learn to look for Esso gas stations where they will be welcomed. At one of these stations, they purchase The Negro Motorist Green Book, a guide to places that would welcome black travelers. Ruth learns to use the book and is so happy to experience the hospitality of fellow African Americans. Eventually she makes it to the loving arms of her grandmother.

Hanna’s Comments: I am a passionate advocate of the practice of hospitality so I especially loved the part of this story where Ruth’s family is welcomed into a “tourist home.” These were homes listed in The Green Book where travelers were warmly welcomed, in this case for no charge. In the back of the book you’ll find The History of The Negro Motorist Green Book. 2014 was the 50th anniversary of the Civil Rights Bill which outlawed Jim Crow laws and therefore also the anniversary of the last edition of The Green Book. Thank goodness this book is now a relic of last century and no longer necessary for families of color to comfortably travel for long distances.  

Publisher & Date of Publication: Scholastic, 2010

Age & Grade Appropriateness: 6 and up, 1st and up

# of Pages: 32

Available in Spanish? Not at present

Formats other than Book: Tablet, Amateur videos on Youtube.com

PBT Category: Post 2K

PBT Topics this Book Connects with: bonds/connections, bullying/martyrs/persecution/oppression, civil rights, community, conflict, dependence/interdependence, difference, directions/maps, exclusion/inclusion, geography, hospitality, injustice, journeys/pilgrimages/migrations/quests, race relations/racism, safe place/sanctuary, segregation, social justice, travel, veterans

Scripture Connections: Treat the stranger as the native among you (Leviticus 19:34); the Good Samaritan (Luke 10:30-37); seek to show hospitality (Romans 12:13); do not neglect to show hospitality to strangers (Hebrews 13:2); show hospitality to one another (1 Peter 4:9)

Idea(s) for Application: Use this in a lesson or sermon on how Holy Scripture, like The Green Book, can be a comfort, a safety net, and a guide. Also, consider that the author of The Green Book might have been inspired by God's desires for humans to be safe and hospitable in all situations.