This is the Dream

February 12, 2009

In celebration of Black History Month, take time to read some books in regards to the positive change our nation has made.  I’m rather humbled that several of these historical events have happened during my lifetime.

This is the Dream by Diane Z. Shore and Jessica Alexander is a poetic rhythmic prose that leads the reader from the segregation laws to the present where all people are united.  My favorite line is “and the unwritten rule is to take turns and share.”  Isn’t that what we teach our children everyday?

The authors connect highlighted scenes in history that represent the discrimination and segregation differences.  Each of the five examples – drinking fountains, buses, restaurants, libraries, schools – are focused snapshots.  The text peaks at the “separate but equal” ruling.  The authors’ note states, “[the text] celebrates the power of nonviolent change.”

James Ransome’s illustrations are powerful, adding key visual scenes that intensify the text.  In his illustrator’s note, he used a combination of painting and collage “to help the reader understand the emotional impact of the era….”   My son’s fourth grade teacher read This is the Dream to the class and were impacted.  “Why are those people pouring sugar on the lady’s head?”  someone asked.  They couldn’t believe people could be so unkind.  The illustrations plus text helped lead to a great discussion.

Savorings for reading and in writing for This is the Dream:

  • Repeating structure – “These are the _____”
  • Poetic, rhythmic
  • Time line through text and photos of then versus now.
  • Hyphen/dash – fair paying jobs
  • Contrast of change – beginning states:  “the black-and-white signs says who will drink where“; end:  “the black-and-white sign says ‘OPEN FOR LUNCH'”

Text to text connection:

  • Library – Goin’ Someplace  Special by Patricia McKissack and Jerry Pinkney
  • Hospital – Uncle Jed’s Barbershop by Margaree King Mitchell and James E. Ransome

(PES Library book)


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