Monday, January 20, 2014

Celebrating Dr. King

In honor of Martin Luther King day, here are five of my favorite books with the theme of civil rights.

Smoky Night by Eve Bunting (picture book, for all ages).

This Caldecott Medal-winning book is about the L.A. Riots of 1992. Pasadena, where Bunting lived at the time, was close enough that they had an effect on her daily life.


The Watsons Go to Birmingham -- 1963 by Christopher Paul Curtis (ages 8-12, middle school).

This book, about a Michigan family who go to visit Grandma in Birmingham, Alabama, and just happen to be there when her church is blown up, won the 1996 Newbery Award, as well as a multitude of others.



Fried Green Tomatoes at the Whistle Stop Cafe by Fannie Flagg (young adult/adult).

Mrs. Threadgoode tells her life story to Evelyn, who is in the sad slump of middle age. The tale she tells is also of two women--of the irrepressibly daredevilish tomboy Idgie and her friend Ruth--who back in the thirties ran a little place in Whistle Stop, Alabama, a Southern kind of Cafe Wobegon offering good barbecue and good coffee and all kinds of love and laughter, even an occasional murder.

The Autobiography of Miss Jane Pittman by Ernest J. Gaines (young adult/adult).

Ernest J. Gaines’s novel—written as an autobiography—spans one hundred years of Miss Jane’s remarkable life, from her childhood as a slave on a Louisiana plantation to the Civil Rights era of the 1960s. It is a story of courage and survival, history, bigotry, and hope—as seen through the eyes of a woman who lived through it all.

To Kill a Mockingbird by Harper Lee (adult/young adult).

Jean-Louise (Scout) Finch, tells the story of the depression-era summer that her father, Atticus, defended a young black man charged with raping a white woman in small-town Alabama.

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