Picture Book: Sit-In: How Four Friends Stood Up by Sitting Down
Author: Andrea Davis Pinkney
Illustrator: Brian Pinkney
Summary: This historic story is beautifully rendered in verse. Civil rights issues are cleverly explored metaphorically through lunch counter items (a doughnut, coffee, & cream).
On February 1, 1960, four college students sat down at a lunch counter in Greensboro, NC. When they were ignored, they politely refused to leave and stayed until Woolworth’s closed.
News spread and more students joined them the next day. Still ignored, they did homework.
Lunch counter protests began in several southern towns.
Angry white people poured drink down their backs and flung food in their faces, but they didn’t respond.
“Practicing peace while others show hatred was tougher than any school test.” The Student Nonviolent Coordinating Committee (SNCC) was formed; their slogan became, “We are all leaders.”
Other groups began to oppose segregated libraries, buses, parks, and pools. Some were arrested, but they didn’t resist, instead some sang.
Eventually many businesses integrated just to stay open. In 1964, The Civil Rights Act banned segregation in public places.
Hanna’s Comments: This book has a treasure trove of supplemental material at the end. There’s a timeline, a photo of the original 4 students, and more info. and references. My favorite is the “right recipe” for integration, 10 pieces of practical advice that could benefit us all.
As Black History Month ends here in the States, I wanted to highlight this important book to help you delve into faith-based resistance in your congregations. I also wanted to give you a link to a disturbing report that I heard from NPR this week about the low percentage of children’s books that feature characters of color. Check it out [here]. This data is troubling, but you’ll find a much higher percentage on this website. At PBT, I make a point of featuring picture books that highlight non-white characters, diversity, and 1960s civil rights history since I worship mere blocks from where some of the most vivid atrocities occurred.
Original Publisher & Date: Little, Brown, & Co., 2010
Age & Grade Appropriateness: 7 and up, 2nd and up
Formats other than Book: None at present
Scripture Connections: Like a polluted fountain is a righteous person who gives way before the wicked (Proverbs 25:26); What does the Lord require of you but to do justice (Micah 6:8); Jesus said to a disciple, “Put your sword back into place.” (Matthew 26:52); Don’t be conformed to this world, but be transformed by the renewal of your mind, that by testing you may discern what is the will of God (Romans 12:2)
Idea(s) for Application: Read this book in a lesson for children, youth, or adults on Jesus’ nonviolence and/or the Christian church’s modern methods for doing justice and resisting injustice.