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This Is the Dream Paperback – December 22, 2009


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Product Details

  • Age Range: 4 - 8 years
  • Grade Level: Kindergarten - 5
  • Paperback: 40 pages
  • Publisher: Amistad; 1 edition (December 22, 2009)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0060555211
  • ISBN-13: 978-0060555214
  • Product Dimensions: 11.1 x 7.7 x 0.1 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 6.4 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 5.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (12 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #531,277 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Editorial Reviews

From Publishers Weekly

Ransome (Satchel Paige) creates a striking juxtaposition of closely focused paintings and collage borders incorporating powerful historical photographs. These images will make a strong impression on readers of this expository chronicle of events preceding, during and following the civil rights movement, as Ransome's artwork makes large ideas comprehensible through visual details. The singsong rhythm and "House-that-Jack-Built" meter creates a chilling contrast to what's going on between the lines: "These are the buses—a dime buys a ride,/ but the people are sorted by color inside." Ransome shows the demarcation of the bus's white and black sections, and in a border across the top creates a collage of stirring portraits. Text and artwork similarly depict segrgated lunch counters, libraries and schools. One of the most powerful spreads portrays three black children stepping into a newly integrated school ("These are the students who step through the doors/ where people of color have not walked before"), Confederate flags flying, while a photocollage on the top edge shows the fractured images of angry white bystanders, effectively emulating a mob mentality. Concluding spreads demonstrate the contrast today, with images of a multiracial array of people waiting to use the same drinking fountain and reciting the Pledge of Allegiance in one voice at school. This will provide a solid springboard for adult-child discussions, especially since younger readers might need help deciphering some of the poetic narrative's references. All ages.
Copyright © Reed Business Information, a division of Reed Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved. --This text refers to the Hardcover edition.

From School Library Journal

Kindergarten-Grade 6–A chronicle of the Civil Rights movement presented through lyrical verses and distinguished illustrations. Ransome juxtaposes collaged archival photographs and newspaper clippings with his paintings (he credits Romare Bearden and Robert Rauschenberg as influences). The book opens with an image of two very stark and separate drinking fountains with identifying signs spanning the pages (These are the fountains/that stand in the square,/and the black-and-white signs/say who will drink where). Segregated buses, lunch counters, libraries, and schools are followed by a series of paintings of the civil rights heroes who partook in nonviolent protests and boycotts. Each succinct and evocative verse is accompanied by a double-page image. At the book's center are portraits of Ella Baker, Walter White, Thurgood Marshall, and Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr., placed on a black-and-white collage of the masses marching. The corresponding verse reads: These are the leaders whose powerful voices/lift up the marchers demanding new choices.… A turn of the page presents paintings of people from diverse racial backgrounds interacting on buses, in restaurants, and in parks. Like Doreen Rappaport's Martin's Big Words (Hyperion, 2001), this book honors our humanity while leading readers through a painful history. Notes at the end by the authors and the illustrator suggest that as a nation we have seen the power of nonviolent change, but the journey is not over. A valuable addition to children's literature.–Teresa Pfeifer, Alfred Zanetti Montessori Magnet School, Springfield, MA
Copyright © Reed Business Information, a division of Reed Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved. --This text refers to the Hardcover edition.

More About the Author

After six years, 385 rejections, and too many sloppy copies to count, I finally signed my first book contract. But more than writing, my favorite thing about being an author is meeting the kids who read my books. I love to visit schools and inspire kids to read with my "A-Rockin' and A-Readin'!" school presentation, and to NEVER GIVE UP! Please visit my website for more info.
I like to write picture books, chapter books, early readers, poetry, non-fiction and games/puzzle pages. My work has been published in a variety of magazines including Highlights for Children, Cricket, Spider, Ladybug, Humpty Dumpty, Jack & Jill, Turtle, and various teaching magazines. Look in the March 2006 Highlights (inside back cover) to see my latest game!

Customer Reviews

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This book is beautifully written in rhyme with gorgeous yet simple illustrations.
Ginnie Daugherty
The most powerful element may be the author's note at the end, in which she articulates that the main concept of the book is the power of non-violent change.
K. Le
THIS IS THE DREAM is an excellent resource for teaching the Civil Rights Movement to young children.
D. Merrimon Crawford

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

9 of 9 people found the following review helpful By H. Duncan on February 9, 2006
Format: Hardcover
As a first grade teacher, it is sometimes hard to find a book about the civil rights movement that is age appropriate. This book has a simple rhyme and beautiful pictures. These pictures simply show the differences before, during, and after the movement. The students in my class were speechless. As they say, a picture is worth a thousand words!
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4 of 4 people found the following review helpful By Isaac Police on October 27, 2006
Format: Hardcover
Many of the reviews already state this, but let me just reiterate: What a fine classroom tool you will find in "This is the Dream"! The story of the civil rights movement is summarized in simple, effective rhyme. It is perfect for all ages. The beginning pages clearly portray the injustice of "separate but equal" and Jim Crow laws. The middle of the story displays the tremendous strength of those who fought, not with guns and fists, but with walking, sitting, marching. Finally, we see the today we have taken for granted. It is a powerful witness to children of what once was and what could be again if we let predjudice take hold once more.
What I particularly enjoyed was the authors' choice to not reduce the movement to the hard work of a handful of people. History books tend to single out Rosa and Martin as the impetus and the leader of the movement. Such status is misleading for children. It was a peaceful militia of millions, a team effort. This book shows the bravery of the many nameless people who changed our country.
I believe this book would be a very worthy Caldecott winner. James Ransome is a "due" illustrator. If you haven't seen his work in other books-especially "Visiting Day" and "Under the Quilt of Night"- I'd encourage you to check it out. He is a master of depicting the subtle emotions of the human face. In "This is the Dream" his rich oil paintings brings history to life once again. And his use of photographs in his artwork is daring and innovative.
This is a suberb, important book.
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful By Donald Roland on November 24, 2007
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
This book is an excellent teaching source for young students to learn about Martin Luther King's dream and how it inspired a nation to change. I have used this book to teach civil rights, comparison/contrast, and voice using Six Traits.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful By Mike Roberts on January 1, 2006
Format: Hardcover
I just finished reading "This is the Dream." It's not often a retired Air Force colonel gets misty-eyed, but your message touched me because it's definitely on target. I lived through the 50's in Milwaukee, Wisconsin; then in Florida during the 60's. Your book capsulized "where we were and how we got to where we are now," as well as a caveat about there's always room for improvement.

Congratulations to the authors and illustrator. I believe they've hit a grand slam!
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Format: Hardcover
This Is The dream, by Diane Shore and Jessica Alexander is a history packed book, with an opening statement by Martin Luther King, Jr. that sets the tone for the lesson to come in history.

"White Only", "Colored Waiting Room", these are the signs that you see in the beginning of this book. It starts with a time when we as a nation were fighting for the basics of equality - the Civil Rights Era, and takes you straight through to today's society where the signs that you see are no longer racially motivated.

This Is The Dream provides a timeline marking the stages that this nation went through to make civil rights a reality. Reading the text and looking at the pictures, made the struggle seem just a little more tangible for me as an adult, so I can imagine the impact that it will have on the mind of a child. Kids of all ages can and should read this book.

I would be remiss if I did not mention the phenomenal illustrations by James Ransome. His pictures are most certainly worth a thousand words.

This is The Dream, should be a requirement for all schools.

Reviewed By: Eleanor S. Shields, Black Butterfly Review
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By Nancy McCorkle on February 7, 2006
Format: Library Binding
Having grown up during the civil rights era, I find this book has great teaching potential for the non-violent movement. Today so many children see the violence on TV and in real life and this book depicts the historical highlights of the era. James Ransome's illustrations are a complement to the clever rhymed verse and his collage technique on the front and back covers and the inside covers tells the story in pictures. I think the sequence of the book portrays the main events of the era that ultimately changed the way of our nation. This is a book for everyone. The rhymes convey the message in a concise manner which the youngest reader can understand. I think this book should be in every school library.
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