Board Book Review: Story of Rosa Parks

Our thirteenth board book, this simple biography of Rosa Parks proved more engaging and interesting than expected.

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The Story of Rosa Parks by Patricia A. Pingry, illustrated by Steven Walker.
WorthyKids/Ideals, Nashville, Tennessee, 2007.
Board book biography, 26 pages.

This deceptively simple biography of Rosa Parks covers all the major events in her life in a manner appropriate for even the youngest children.

The Story of Rosa Parks cover resized
The Story of Rosa Parks by Patricia A. Pingry, illustrated by Steven Walker.

Honestly, I was surprised by this book.  We have several of Pingry’s religious board books, and they are solid additions to the church rotation but not especially moving.

If we teach kids about Rosa Parks and Martin Luther King, Jr. as toddlers, then by grade school they should be ready to learn about Lonnie Johnson, Fannie Lou Hammer, Dave the Potter, Mae Jemison, and more.  Then in middle school they can move on to studying people like Claudette Colvin, Misty Copeland, Ida B. Wells, and John Lewis.  That’s the ideal, right?

This book was purchased for Baby.  I did not expect the older kids to show any interest in it.  However, N picked it up under the guise of “reading to baby” and kept looking at it even after Baby went off for a diaper change.  My new reader wanted to use it for reading practice.  The kids sat through more than one reading of it.

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Challenge: Beyond the Big Five

A simple challenge to take this year’s Black History Month beyond the basics.

So let’s talk about something.  America has a month devoted to African-American history (February).  Most teachers and school districts these days fall in line with this and do at least a few activities relating to the theme.

The problem?  Teachers, and schools, tend to focus on the Big Five:
(Paraphrases of inaccurate comments I’ve heard from schoolchildren in parenthesis.)

Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.
(that guy who dreamed the Civil Rights Movement.  Oh and they shot him.  That’s sad.)

Rosa Parks
(King’s wife who sat down on the bus.  She was so tired she just couldn’t get up again!)

Jackie Robinson
(they let him play baseball with the white guys, and he was good at it.)

Harriet Tubman
(she freed all the slaves, so Lincoln almost had nothing left to do later.)

And of course, Abraham Lincoln
(he’s white, but he helped the slaves so much.  Oh and they shot him.  That’s sad.)

Sometimes Nelson Mandela is thrown in, even though he is African, not African-American!

There are a few reasons for this.  African-American history and culture is so ignored by the mainstream culture, I’ve actually encountered people who don’t know that there were other notable blacks.  Not to mention, Husband (who doesn’t study this, but has been around when the kids and I read) got more questions right on a Black History Month quiz even compared to his African-American co-workers.  I would say that this blog helped educate him, but this was before blogging, when we were just starting to study Black History!

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