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Remember: The Journey to School Integration (Bccb Blue Ribbon Nonfiction Book Award (Awards)) Hardcover – May 3, 2004

4.7 out of 5 stars 27 customer reviews

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Editorial Reviews

From School Library Journal

Grade 3-8–This unusual blend of archival photographs, historical background, and fictional narrative brings to life the experiences and emotions of the African-American students who made the tumultuous journey to school integration. Dramatic, mostly full-page, black-and-white photographs make up the bulk of the book. An introduction sets the scene, and factual pages, consisting of several sentences, are scattered throughout. They explain the significance of the events, the trauma of racial conflict, the courage and determination of African Americans and their supporters, and the importance of remembering and understanding. With poignant simplicity and insight, Morrison imagines the thoughts and feelings of some of the people in the pictures. The wrenching, inspiring autobiographical school integration memoirs of first-grader Ruby Bridges (Through My Eyes [Scholastic, 1999]) and Little Rock Nine high school junior Melba Pettillo Beals (Warriors Don't Cry [Washington Square, 1995]) offer greater immediacy and convey a powerful message for future generations about the need for understanding, self-awareness, and self-respect. However, Morrison's reflective interpretation presents a gentler guide for younger readers. Appended are a chronology of "Key Events in Civil Rights and School Integration History"; "Photo Notes" that describe the actual date, location, and content of each picture; and a dedication that recalls the four young girls killed in the bombing of their Birmingham, AL, church in 1963. The provocative, candid images and conversational text should spark questions and discussion, a respect for past sacrifices, and inspiration for facing future challenges.–Gerry Larson, Durham School of the Arts, NC
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From Booklist

Gr. 5-12. The photos are electrifying. Beautifully reproduced in sepia prints, the archival images humanize the politics of the civil rights movement. The leaders are shown, but the focus is on ordinary young people and the role they played in school integration. In her eloquent introduction, Morrison talks about what the pictures show: the reality of separate but equal, the 1954 Brown vs. Board of Education decision, the nationwide movement to eliminate racist laws. On the page opposite each photo, however, she imagines the thoughts and feelings of kids in the photos, and the intrusive fictionalized comments get in the way of the visual images ("I think she likes me, but . . .What will I do if she hates me?"). The fiction is not about the angry white mobs; there's no verbal racist confrontation. But there's hatred in the pictures, and children will constantly turn back to the photo notes at the end to find out more. Every library will want this not for the condescending made-up stuff but for the stirring history. Hazel Rochman
Copyright © American Library Association. All rights reserved
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Product Details

  • Age Range: 4 - 7 years
  • Grade Level: Preschool - 3
  • Lexile Measure: 660L (What's this?)
  • Series: Bccb Blue Ribbon Nonfiction Book Award (Awards)
  • Hardcover: 80 pages
  • Publisher: HMH Books for Young Readers; 1St Edition edition (May 3, 2004)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 061839740X
  • ISBN-13: 978-0618397402
  • Product Dimensions: 0.8 x 9.2 x 10.5 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1.3 pounds (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.7 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (27 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #533,322 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

By E. R. Bird HALL OF FAMETOP 500 REVIEWER on April 16, 2005
Format: Hardcover
When I was younger I used to love going to antique stores to buy old photographs. Usually these stores would have huge bins of old shots of families, individuals, and places. Finding the ones I thought were the most original, I bought them and gave each one its own name and history, entirely of my own making. I could pore over a single photograph for hours, enlivening it with a background that I myself would never be able to prove or disprove. But each photo was a staged affair. Its participants knew that they were being photographed. How different it would be to do the same thing, only with photos that highlighted a particular historical moment in our nation's history. In "Remember: The Journey To School Integration", authorial god Toni Morrison does just that. She takes photos that highlight the struggles and heroism of the civil rights activists (and their children) during the early years of southern integration and gives many of them their own little comment or story. Taken individually the photos are eye-opening affairs, even for adults that lived through those turbulent years. Taken as a whole they tell a tale that we should never forget.

The book is, in its own words, "a unique pictorial and narrative journey that introduces children to a watershed period in American history". In many children's books, such a title would begin with an Author's Note that speaks to adults about what the writer is attempting to accomplish. Morrison takes a different route. She speaks immediately to the child readers of this book. "This book is about you", she explains. She tells the kids about this dark period in American history. She gives them a briefing in the history and the multitude of reasons why we should never forget that this occurred. Then the pictures begin.
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Format: Hardcover
Morrison has captured an era in her skillful hands and held it out for all to see, a remembrance and a memorial as well. She presents reality, but has smoothed the harsh edges, so that the truth stands out plainly and clearly. Her gaze is focused upon progress toward equality, respect, dignity and non-violence.

The pictures that accompany Morrison's deceptively simple text add great depth to the meaning of the book. They add a touch of poignancy that makes it personal.

This book is a poetic experience, inspiring and uplifting - no matter what your age.
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By vonbora on September 30, 2013
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
I bought this book for my classroom of middle schoolers and they love it. It tells a moving story through pictures.

Although it is technically a picture book it is so much deeper than that.
It is a great book to use if talking about Toni Morrison or black history, or fiction, or poetry. I love having this book and I know any teacher or parent would feel the same.
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Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
Growing up in the northern midwest, I rarely saw any African-Americans and although I'd seen many of these pictures elsewhere, like the child I was, I keep wondering how anyone could justify the inequality of treatment.
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Format: Hardcover
On May 17, 1954 the US Supreme Court declared segregated schools unconstitutional, sending the nation on a path of integration whose ramifications are being felt today. In Remember: The Journey To School Integration, author Toni Morrison presents archival photos depicting the events surrounding school integration processes, accompanying photos with a fictional text recounting the dialogue and emotions of students of the times. A fitting tribute to a volatile period in history which should never be forgotten.
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Format: Hardcover
Morrison opens the door to the past for young readers. She opens the story up by telling young readers that "this book is about you", helping them relate to sad situations of hate and prejudice and also showing how far along we have come. Even though prejudices is still seen today, the photographs that Morrison includes in this book show how bad it was. Today bullying is a big issue throughout our world, and the events that took part during this time was a type of bullying that is seen today and many young readers could relate to it. I think this is a great book for 6th graders and up. It talks about the case of Brown vs. The Board of Education, segregation and our American history.
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Format: Hardcover
Remember, the journey to school integration is both a powerful and beautiful book and a strong reminder of how fresh (should I say present?) discrimination is, and also how the determination and strength to face violence and incomprehension can overcome deep prejudices.
Toni Morrison, (whom I thank every day for opening for me a window into de black world and way of thinking) with her fluent, elegant and sober writing, leads us to remember a time of struggle and advancement into an equal society, which is a goal we are still far from attaining.
This is a book to see, read and keep near at hand in order to be able to keep watch against prejudice and lack of tolerance. We can strive for a better and more just social world.
Javier Olmedo
Mexico City, Mexico
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Format: Hardcover
Toni Morrison did an excellent job adding a voice to pictures that served as reminder of what past Americans did to stand up for our right to an equal education. I thought this would be a great book to bring into the classroom of 6th graders at the youngest. Toni Morrison writes a very informative prologue that helps introduce the history explained in the book while also explaining how she chose to narrate the story. I really enjoyed the photography of the book and the way she incorporated not only famous snapshots but also new shots that readers may not have seen. It was very evident throughout the book why it was awarded many honors and I believe this will be a book enjoyed by people of all races for many years to come.
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