Tuesday, January 20, 2015

A Picture Book a Day for a Year: Day 276

Picture Book: Goin’ Someplace Special

Author: Patricia McKissack

Illustrator: Jerry Pinkney

Summary: In a southern American town in the 1950’s, Tricia Ann is being allowed to go to “Someplace Special” alone for the first time. She called it this because it was her favorite place in the world. “Be particular and remember everything I told you,” her grandmother says. Then she adds, “And no matter what, hold yo’ head up and act like you b’long to somebody.” On the bus she sits in the back in the “colored section.” She goes to Peace Fountain and dances around. She tumbles onto a nearby bench, but then she notices it is marked, “For Whites Only.” Outside a fancy hotel, she gets swept inside by a crowd greeting a star. As she gets her first glimpse of the grand lobby, she is shooed away by someone saying, “No colored people are allowed!” This is all so upsetting that she runs to the ruins at the Mission Church to cry, missing her grandmother and thinking of turning back. Instead she meets Blooming Mary, who takes care of the gardens and encourages Tricia Ann to think of what her grandmother would want her to do. She knows her grandmother would want her to go on to “Someplace Special.” She has one last difficult encounter with a white girl her age before arriving at “Someplace Special,” a place her grandmother calls “a doorway to freedom.” As she enters, she sees chiseled in stone at the top of the building, “PUBLIC LIBRARY: ALL ARE WELCOME.”  

Hanna’s Comments: The Author’s Note in the back explains that this is a fictionalized version of events in her childhood in Nashville, Tennessee. Here she personalizes the racism that she faced, and explains that her parents had fortified her with enough love, respect, and pride that she was able to face these situations. She explains that the treacherous journey to the library was worth the effort for there she felt welcome and able to read and check out many books, learning that “reading is the doorway to freedom.”

Publisher & Date of Publication: Atheneum Books, 2001

Age & Grade Appropriateness: 4 and up, Pre and up

# of Pages: 40

Available in Spanish? Not at present

Formats other than Book: Tablet

PBT Category: Non-fiction, Post 2K

PBT Topics this Book Connects with: acceptance, action, adaptation/assimilation, 
America, anger, armor, belonging, bravery/courage, bullying/martyrs/persecution/oppression, challenges, civil rights, confidence, conformity, difficulties, disabilities/handicaps/limitations, emotions/feelings, encouragement, equality/inequality, evil, exclusion/inclusion, fear, freedom, golden rule, grandparents, gratitude/thanksgiving, injustice, insecurity, integration, intolerance, journeys/migrations/pilgrimages/quests, justice, language/literacy/reading, the law/rules/10 commandments, North America, obstacles, perseverance, prejudice, pride, race relations/racism, risking, satisfaction, segregation, self-control, self-discovery, sin, victims

Scripture Connections: You will know the truth, and the truth will set you free. (John 8:32); For you were called to freedom (Galatians 5:13)

Idea(s) for Application:  Use this book when teaching children in your faith community a lesson on the importance of freedom and its relationship to knowledge. Also, this is a journey story with obstacles, suffering, and doubts. In spite of these, Tricia Ann perseveres. There are many journey stories in the Holy Scriptures that could be connected to this story.

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