Confronted with the indignities and humiliations of segregated Nashville in the 1950s, young 'Tricia Ann holds her head high and remembers that she is "somebody, a human being--no better, no worse than anybody else in this world." For the first time, 'Tricia Ann has been allowed to venture outside her community all by herself. Her grandmother has prepared her well, fortifying her "with enough love, respect, and pride to overcome any situation." 'Tricia Ann, though frustrated by the Jim Crow laws that forbid her, as an African American, to enter certain restaurants and hotels, or even to sit on park benches marked "For Whites Only," rises above her pain and makes her way to one of the only places in the city that welcomes her with open arms: the public library.
Drawing on her own Nashville childhood, Newbery Honor-winning author Patricia C. McKissack (The Dark- Thirty) brings the injustices of segregation to life in this bittersweet picture book. Illustrator Jerry Pinkney, four-time Coretta Scott King Award winner and four-time Caldecott Honor Medalist, captures the spirit of the '50s with his lovely watercolors. McKissack and Pinkney previously collaborated on Mirandy and Brother Wind. (Ages 3 to 7) --Emilie Coulter
From Publishers Weekly
McKissack draws from her childhood in Nashville for this instructive picture book. "I don't know if I'm ready to turn you loose in the world," Mama Frances tells her granddaughter when she asks if she can go by herself to "Someplace Special" (the destination remains unidentified until the end of the story). 'Tricia Ann does obtain permission, and begins a bittersweet journey downtown, her pride battered by the indignities of Jim Crow laws. She's ejected from a hotel lobby and snubbed as she walks by a movie theater ("Colored people can't come in the front door," she hears a girl explaining to her brother. "They got to go 'round back and sit up in the Buzzard's Roost"). She almost gives up, but, buoyed by the encouragement of adult acquaintances ("Carry yo'self proud," one of her grandmother's friends tells her from the Colored section on the bus), she finally arrives at Someplace Special a place Mama Frances calls "a doorway to freedom" the public library. An afterword explains McKissack's connection to the tale, and by putting such a personal face on segregation she makes its injustices painfully real for her audience. Pinkney's (previously paired with McKissack for Mirandy and Brother Wind) luminescent watercolors evoke the '50s, from fashions to finned cars, and he captures every ounce of 'Tricia Ann's eagerness, humiliation and quiet triumph at the end. Ages 4-8.
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